Like the perk from a fresh cup of coffee, the people at Bingham Middle School in Independence made it a bit easier for music teacher Philip Enloe to return to work Wednesday mere hours after he arrived home at about 2 a.m.
Enloe is a member of the Kansas City Chorale, which won a Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance. After all of Monday's festivities in downtown Los Angeles (which spilled into Tuesday), he and his wife Jana traveled back to Eastern Jackson County the next day.
“It's been a crazy couple days,” Enloe said after an afternoon class. “The kids have been awesome.
“I got so many congratulatory remarks, even from students not in my classes. In middle school, a lot of times you barely get a smile from students. Everybody's been so nice and so positive, and as a teacher that's nice to hear.”
The Kansas City Chorale won for its album “Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil” in collaboration with the Phoenix Chorale (Charles Bruffy, who accepted the award, directs both groups). That work had also been nominated for Best Engineered Album, Classical.
Enloe had been a member of the Chorale when the group won the Best Choral Performance Grammy in 2013 for its album “Life & Breath – Choral Works by René Clausen” and attended the festivities that year, though he hadn't yet joined the group when it recorded that album.
“I still sang all the songs in concerts after the recording, so I still felt somewhat connected,” he said. “Going the first time, it felt like I'd won a radio trip and they send you there. It was a surreal experience.
“This time it felt more of a professional route. We worked hard to get where we're at, pushed (the album) and did a lot of social media.”
The choirs recorded the album in May 2014 and it was released 10 months later. Enloe said some choir members were seeing each other in Los Angeles for the first time in months.
“Looking at pictures from back and forth, it's crazy how much different we look,” he said. “When they record the next one there will be different singers. It's a whole new project and new idea.”
The ceremony where the Chorale received its award started in the early afternoon, and there was a break before the evening awards show in the Staples Center (which television viewers get to see). But even after all that and the after-party, Enloe said the day went faster than remembered from three years ago. He said Jana documented as much of the trip as she could with her camera.
“One a.m. came and we didn't feel tired,” he said. “It's a different experience … being around these different talents. It's awesome to be in a room full of everybody in music. Everybody works for a label or sang with somebody or played guitar for somebody.”
Alejandro Manso, who had been the music director at St. Mark's Catholic Church in Independence when he joined the Chorale and was part of the album, said hearing the group's name announced in the Microsoft Theater was “pretty unbelievable.”
However, for an instant he didn't think the Chorale had won – he anticipated hearing Bruffy's name first for the announcement.
“When I heard 'Rach…,' I thought, 'Well, that's not us,'” said Manso, who resides in Overland Park, Kansas, and works at Visitation Parish in Kansas City. “Then, I realized, 'Wait, that is us!'
“It's hard to compare it to anything else. We were all shouting for joy.”
While Manso and his wife waited at the airport Tuesday afternoon for their flight home, the whole experience was still sinking in.
“It feels great that I just got to come out here, to be a part of it,” he said. “I'll never see anything like that again in my life.”