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Out-of-this-world music teacher wins Hollywood award





Entering a song-writing contest on a whim resulted in an unexpected trip to Hollywood for a Hays teacher.

Randy Sauer -- vocal music instructor for students at Holy Family Elementary School, where he directs the sixth-grade band -- also writes children's songs and plays at various venues as a one-man band called "Randy's Music Jam."

He thought entering his song, "Dig Into Reading," into the Indie Music Channel Awards contest for independent musicians was "a good way to make connections."

It turned out to be more than that.

Sauer, invited as one of five finalists to the awards ceremony in Hollywood, was named the overall winner in the children's music category in this, the third year of the contest.

When Sauer first learned about the contest, he said he thought he would give it a whirl.

"I thought I'd enter one song and see what it's all about," he said.

Sauer started learning a lot more about the contest in March when he was notified he was a finalist in the children's song-writing category.

Whether or not he would have won the top prize for his entry, Sauer said it was well worth the trip for him and his wife, Niki.

He said he met several musicians from other countries, some of whom were entered in numerous categories. There are 21 categories in all, ranging from blues and classical to country and folk and gospel, jazz and rock.

"My wife said, 'You get to writing more songs, so we can go again next year,' " Sauer said. "I definitely will enter more next year."

The Indie Music Channel award was the second honor this school year for Sauer, who last fall was named outstanding elementary educator in the Northwest District of the Kansas Music Educators Association.