ORMTA CONTRIBUTION TO TEACHING AWARD

Previous Winners

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2021

Chunson Park

ORMTA Contribution to Teaching Award

Ottawa Region Branch 

The Ottawa Region Branch is delighted to have Dr. Chunson Park as its OCTA recipient for 2021. Dr. Park embodies everything an ORMTA member should be. She is a brilliant and dedicated teacher whose students thrive and excel under her guidance. It is not a stretch to say that her efforts have contributed significantly to the high quality of performance among Ottawa piano students. In addition to her teaching, Dr. Park is also a vibrant member of the musical community in Ottawa. Her skills have been recognized by other organizations including The Royal Conservatory of Music and Steinway, and she is a member of the prestigious Musical Arts Club of Ottawa. The Ottawa Region Branch is fortunate to have her as a member and we are all very proud of her achievements.

Chunson Park is humbled and honoured to receive this award. She has been teaching piano for almost four decades and is one of the most sought-after teachers in Ottawa. Her education includes the University of British Columbia, the Juilliard School, and Boston University. Dr. Park was blessed to have great mentors, such as Dr. Robert Silverman, Mrs. Ellen Silverman, and Mr. Hung-Kuan Chen.

 

While taking care of her two children and writing her final dissertation at the same time, she developed tendinitis in her hands, veering her career to teaching. Ever since, her focus has been on proper postures and ergonomic ways of playing the piano. After her graduate work, Park taught at Inje University in Gimhae, South Korea and Carleton University in Ottawa. But it was her genuine love and care for children that revealed a particular passion for teaching young talents. The main motivation for her teaching has always been to nurture each child to strive for their highest potential.

 

In 2018, she suffered from laryngitis for three months due to overuse and permanent damage of her vocal cords. Now, she is especially keen on keeping a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

 

Her present and former students have won prizes in many competitions, such as the Canadian Music Competition, Kiwanis, Ottawa Piano Festivals, ORMTA and Steinway competitions. Their achievements have been recognized with numerous RCM gold and silver medals, trophies and scholarships from festivals and competitions.

 

Park is the recipient of the 2019 RCM Teacher of Distinction and the 2016, 2017 Steinway Top Music Teacher Awards. In 2019, her own students gave her a personal trophy of dedication and devotion. She is also the organist and pianist at the Epiphany Anglican Church.

Chunson has two grown- up children and lives with her husband in Kanata.

2020

Hoda Nassim

ORMTA Contribution to Teaching Award

Ottawa Region Branch 

Born in Cairo, Hoda Nassim started piano studies at the age 11 and was soon admitted to the newly created National Conservatory of Music. There she combined musical and academic studies from the secondary through university levels, graduating with distinction.  Hoda feels privileged to have studied for eight years with Melita Lorkovic, pupil of Alfred Cortot, Lazare Levy, and Svetislav Stancic. It was at the Conservatory that Hoda also began her harp studies.  During her time in Cairo, Hoda performed numerous recitals and, at 18, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto #2 with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra.

 

In 1967 Hoda immigrated to Ottawa to join her fiancé.  She continued her piano studies with Anisia Campos at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec in Montreal. She also continued her academic studies, graduating from UOttawa with a Bachelor of Arts, and Bachelors of Sociology (magna cum laude) and Education (summa cum laude). 
    
Hoda has served on Council in Ottawa, but she feels being a member of ORMTA has allowed her to follow her passion for teaching, and she has reached hundreds of students over the years.  Her students participate in piano, harp, theory, and keyboard harmony exams, festivals, and competitions.  Many have received RCM medals for highest marks, won provincial competitions, and been invited to perform at Music Festival highlights concerts.  Hoda has the pleasure of seeing some of her students follow in her footsteps and pursue their own musical careers as teachers/performers and colleagues.  At the 2018 Convention she was presented with ORMTA’s fifty-year membership award. 

 

Besides her private teaching, Hoda taught solfège, piano, and theory at U Ottawa for 17 years, harmony and solfège at Carleton University, and in various academic and musical capacities at the OCDSB for 17 years. During the 1990’s Hoda was in demand as an adjudicator for festivals and competitions.  

 

Over the years Hoda has continued to perform. Highlights include performances at the Egyptian Embassy, Musical Arts Club of Ottawa fundraisers, and the Museum of Civilisation in honour of the Tombs of Eternity. She has also participated in Masterclasses with Anton Kuerti and Jean-Paul Sevilla. 

 

Hoda served as President of The Musical Arts Club of Ottawa, and is the Director of Arpa Nova, a harp ensemble performing frequently at retirement homes and with local choirs.

 

Hoda feels privileged to have had the opportunity to touch so many lives. She also feels blessed by her 2 children and 3 grandchildren.

 


 

 

2019

Brenda Eisener

ORMTA Contribution to Teaching Award
Ottawa Region Branch 

Growing up in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, music was a large part of Brenda’s life, involving piano lessons, church choirs, and school music activities. She went on to study music in the Special Music Class at Nova Scotia Teachers College under Dr Catherine Allison. After Summer School classes at Dalhousie University she graduated with a Specialized License to teach School Music. In 1962 Brenda married her military husband Bernie Eisener. She continued to teach school music in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as she and her husband moved around in the military.  While living in northern Quebec, she was organist and choir director at the military chapel. 


In 1974 Brenda and Bernie and their three children were posted to Baden-Soellingen, Germany for three years. While in Germany Brenda realized that maintaining a school teaching career as a military wife was too difficult. She then started further piano studies with Pat Lemoine who was on assignment from the RCM.
Returning to Ottawa in 1977 Brenda continued piano studies with Netta Gale and started teaching piano privately. She completed her ARCT with Verna Jacobson at Carleton University whom Brenda credits with much of her success as a piano teacher.  While at Carleton she studied voice and sang in the University Choir, fulfilling her love of singing. In her piano teaching she has always stressed the importance of singing with her students.


In 1988 Brenda joined ORMTA and was soon invited to become a Council member by then President Joan Clarkson. Her duties included Social, Membership List, First Class Honours, Workshops, Competitions and President from 1992 -1994. A highlight of her Presidency was the hugely successful 1993 CFMTA Convention at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa. This success was largely due to the phenomenal work of Sandra Cooke and her convention committee.  Also, from 2012-2014 Brenda looked after Cards and Flowers. As Zone Representative from 1996-1999, she was responsible for Provincial Competitions, a challenging and rewarding portfolio. Brenda also served as Zone Rep again in 2004-2005 completing her friend Shirley Efford’s term. During this year, Brenda was responsible for Bylaws and later served on a committee to rewrite the Bylaws.  


Brenda’s commitment to music was also manifested by her years of community work with the Gloucester Music Teachers, Gloucester Music Club and the Gloucester Concert Assoc. 


Her years of teaching piano and theory (harmony and history) have been extremely rewarding and she has had the satisfaction of seeing several of her students go on to further studies in music. Her role in ORMTA has also broadened and enriched her life.   
 

 

2018

Sue Jones

ORMTA Contribution to Teaching Award
Ottawa Region Branch 

Sue Jones was born in Calgary where she lived for a grand total of two months, then moved east with her   parents. They raised their family of four children in various cities throughout Ontario.  Despite being passionate about music from a young age, Sue did not choose her career path in music until she was an adult with three small children. 


Sue has been a proud member of ORMTA, Ottawa Region Branch, since 1995 when she joined as a Pre-Diploma member having just completed her Grade 10 piano examination with the Royal Conservatory of Music (thanks to the perseverance and much patience of teachers Brenda Eisener, Shirley Efford, Verna Jacobson and Dina Namer).   

 

At the first general branch meeting Sue attended in September 1995, she volunteered for the phone committee (no email in those days) and went on to head the phone committee, serve as branch secretary, new members’ convenor, newsletter editor, competitions convenor and eventually branch President. She continued her studies, completely an ARCT.  Sue was very grateful for the support and encouragement from ORMTA members during that time.
   

As a Zone Representative on Provincial Council, Sue looked after Bylaws and then Provincial Competitions. Serving as Provincial President from 2012 – 2014, she represented ORMTA as a delegate at the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Associations (CFMTA). As CFMTA Awards and Competitions Chair, Sue coordinates the CFMTA National Piano Competition. Sue also co-chaired two provincial conventions—one in Ottawa in 2006 and the other in Toronto in 2014. Sue is a Certified Teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music—(Advanced Piano Specialist, Intermediate Theory Specialist).  

 

In addition to playing the piano, Sue has played English handbells, and has studied flute, recorder and clarinet.  She has sung in several choirs in the Ottawa area, most notably the Carleton University Choir for over fifteen years. During that time, she managed the choir’s  publicity and then served as its President for five years. She sang in her church choir for many years, served as its President as well, and directed a children’s chimes choir.  She has also been a member of a small piano recital group since 1994.
 

Sue has taught piano and rudimentary theory lessons in Ottawa for the past thirty years and currently has a studio of 35 students ranging in age from seven to seventy. She will always treasure the relationships and friendships she has made over the years within the ORMTA community. 
   

Sue is a proud mother of three, grandma to one, and mother-in-law of two. She and her husband Bruce celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary last year with a trip to Quebec City and tour of England where their son and his wife live.
 

 

2017

Jenny Regehr

ORMTA Contribution to Teaching Award
Ottawa Region Branch 

Jenny Regehr has a long and varied teaching career having taught advanced piano students, many of them gifted young players (including those in The Royal Conservatory of Music’s Performance Academy for Young Artists) and students at the university level (including those at the threshold of professional careers at The Glenn Gould School).   She has enjoyed working with teachers who in many cases already have well established studios of their own as well as teaching professionals in other fields who are passionate about the piano. At The GGS Ms. Regehr coached chamber music and taught both vocal and instrumental collaborative piano. In addition she has given master classes in various centres across Canada. At an international level she has been invited for several teaching residencies at the Central Conservatory in Beijing as well as at the Shanghai Conservatory.

 

The teachers who most influenced her were Alma Brock Smith and later Canadian pianist Andre Laplante with whom she worked extensively with the help of a Manitoba Arts Council grant. The most profound influence on her performing and teaching however, came in the fifteen years during which she coordinated The Glenn Gould School piano master class program. In this setting she was privileged to hear weekly classes given by many of the world's greatest pedagogues, working with exceptional students. It gave her a rare synthesis of musical and pianistic perspective that she could not have gained in any other way. She was particularly influenced by Marc Durand, with whom she co-taught a number of highly gifted students at The GGS. 

 

Ms. Regehr has given numerous workshops for Royal Conservatory Examinations across Canada as well as for The Frederick Harris Music Co. She has also been invited for many Registered Music Teachers' workshops in various provinces. In some instances these workshops have been combined with master classes. Some of these workshops have dealt with exam preparation or have introduced teachers to new material. Particularly well received have been workshops that focussed on the synergy between the musical and the physical aspects of playing and teaching.

Jenny Regehr is a senior examiner for RCM Examinations and continues to adjudicate many senior piano festivals across Canada. Recently she was on an international panel of adjudicators at the prestigious Hong Kong Schools music festival.

 

Jenny's performance career has taken her to the United States, Europe, and Asia and has included solo recitals, concerto performances on both piano and harpsichord, chamber music performances with many of Canada's leading musicians, Lieder collaborations, and frequent duo performances with violist Rennie Regehr. She was also the pianist and harpsichordist of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra for many years and was heard regularly on the CBC.

 

2016

Sandy Menard

ORMTA Contribution to Teaching Award
Ottawa Region Branch 

 

 

Sandy began her first piano lessons at the age of seven, at the convent near her home in Belleville. After her family moved to Oshawa, she resumed lessons with Sadie Brown and as a teenager enjoyed playing for high-school musicals as well as a local dance studio. She attended Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo where she studied with Boyd McDonald and Michael Purves-Smith. Reorienting her studies toward the harpsichord (and piano as a second instrument), Sandy received a BA in Music (1979) with a specialization in Early Music. One of the highlights of her education was an opportunity, facilitated by Queen’s University, to spend a summer of study in Vienna. This program sparked her love for travel.


Returning to Oshawa, Sandy continued lessons at the Royal Conservatory with Gordon Hallett and Wilfrid Powell (who later played organ for her wedding). She started teaching piano and in 1981 moved to Ottawa where she finished her ARCT theory requirements with Sandra Cooke and Virginia Strawn. These ladies encouraged her involvement with the Ottawa Region Branch of ORMTA, inviting her onto council even before she became a member – a formality that was settled in 1984.


Since then, Sandy has held every council position, except treasurer. She began her tenure as co-convenor of the First Class Honours Recital, with the oldest of her three children arriving just a week before the recital! She served on her first convention committee (the second in 2006), and remembers the garage-sale typewriter that produced programs, newsletters, and minutes, as well as correspondence dictated from telephone conversations. After a three-year hiatus surrounding her daughter’s arrival in 1990, she returned to oversee ORMTA’s Performance in the Community portfolio. This interest in community outreach led her to assume the organization of two fund-raising auctions that provided music tuition for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa.


With her branch presidency (2011-2013), Sandy represented the Ottawa region on provincial council where she served as convenor for the Pedagogy Award. With her teaching, she continues to serve the musical community in Orleans. Although she has had advanced students who have pursued music as a career, she strongly believes that all students deserve a solid foundation at the elementary level and this belief forms the heart of her studio. She also acknowledges the unwavering support of her family.


In addition to her teaching, Sandy substitutes for the organist at her church and plays for monthly services at a long- term care facility. She is taking flute lessons, enjoys photography, hiking, skiing, and travelling with her newly retired husband. She is also loving the adventure of her new role as grandmother!

 

Sandy greatly appreciates all that her ORMTA membership offers, both for herself and for her students. As a council member, she values the opportunity to have contributed to an organization of such high professional standards – to have networked and made many long-lasting friendships. She feels honoured and truly humbled to be recognized as the 2016 recipient of an OCTA. In turn, the Ottawa Region Branch of ORMTA is privileged to have been the beneficiary of Sandy’s enthusiastic dedication.
 

 

 

 

2015

Helen Sinclair

ORMTA Contribution to Teaching Award
Ottawa Region Branch 

Helen Sinclair was born in Guelph, Ontario and grew up in nearby Acton. Her father was a church organist and an accomplished cornet player. As the oldest daughter in the family, Helen, at age 12, gained valuable experience accompanying her father for his cornet solos. During her high school years, Helen studied piano with Dorothy Richardson Scull, who encouraged her to begin teaching junior piano students.  Singing was also a part of her early music education.  She sang alto in church choirs, the high school Glee Club, the Teachers' College Choir and participated in small ensemble groups.  

Helen graduated from Lakeshore Teachers' College and enjoyed a brief career as a primary school teacher in Acton.  She married Mac Sinclair in 1963 and they lived in Toronto, Kingston, and Sunnyvale, California.   In 1971, they settled in Ottawa with their two young children.  In 1973, Helen accepted a position as church organist, resumed piano studies with Irene Woodburn Wright and began building her private piano studio.  She went on to receive her Associate Diplomas for Performance and Teaching from the Western Ontario Conservatory of Music. A desire to continue studies and to expand her musical knowledge led Helen to Carleton University where she took courses and studied with pianist Verna Jacobson, graduating in 1993 with a Bachelor of Music. Helen played an important role in the rejuvenation of the Laurentian Junior Music Club, serving as President for 9 years. Other community work includes volunteering and sharing her talents at a local seniors' care facility since the early 1970's.  She presently accompanies a community women's choir whose purpose is to bring entertainment to seniors’ residences and provide an artistic outlet for older singers.

 

Encouraged by Irene Woodburn Wright, Helen joined ORMTA in the early 1980's and has held various portfolios: Social Convener, First Class Honours Recital, Canada Music Week, New Members and presently Cards and Flowers. She is always willing to volunteer at ORMTA events.

Helen is grateful to the Ottawa Region Branch of ORMTA for the recognition and honour of being chosen for this award.  She appreciates and values the many friendships that she has made, the opportunities available for personal enrichment and professional growth and for all the support and performing platforms that we make available for students on all levels. With a piano teaching career which has spanned some 45 years, Helen has been thankful for the wonderful people that have been part of her studio.  She encourages young students to develop their abilities so that the joy of music will be a lifelong source of pleasure to them.

 

2014

Ann Babin

ORMTA Contribution to Teaching Award
Ottawa Region Branch 

Ann was born and raised in northern New Brunswick where her early years were focused on family, school, music, sports and church. Piano studies and choir were supported and encouraged. She obtained a BA in literature and history from the University of New Brunswick and a Masters in Library and Information Services from Dalhousie University. A promising career in management at the NB Library Services was cut short when military husband Winston was posted to CFB Lahr (then West) Germany.

 

Several years later she was back in Lahr with two young sons and a part-time job at the small base library which included hosting a local TV, show Books in Review. There were excellent resources on the base and she decided to explore music further, resuming piano studies with Warren Mould. On the family’s posting to Ottawa she continued piano with Diana Lawton and Sunju Koh and theory with the incomparable Bertha Bower and in 1998 received her ARCT (teacher) diploma. Ann joined the Gloucester Music Teachers’ Association for support and development as she began establishing herself as a teacher in the Orleans area. At an early GMTA meeting she made a contact with MYC and in 1989 completed the training and added group teaching to her private home studio.

 

The five years just before and after 2000 were a blur of activity. Ann worked with Roxanne McGahey to establish the MYC studio on Youville Drive in Orleans, began a remarkable decade of piano studies with Barbara Solis, accepted the opportunity to serve as the Orleans representative for RCM Exams, joined ORMTA, enrolled in a year-long applied pedagogy programme taught by Dr. Gilles Comeau and Dr. Elaine Keillor, and took over the direction of the Canadian Music Showcase from former ORMTA president Shirley Efford. In 2002 Dr. Comeau invited Ann to continue her studies at the University of Ottawa at the Piano Laboratory that was literally under construction. She thrived in this challenging environment of work and study; her MA Music thesis on the history and development of the piano exam system in Canada is one of the Piano Lab’s first. Ann has served continuously on the ORMTA Executive Committee since 2003, as Branch President from 2009-2011, on Provincial Council from 2008-2011, and presently as Archivist. She loves conferences and considers herself a conference groupie. In 2013 she accepted a position on the board of directors for the Ottawa Children’s Choir. She still maintains a busy home studio. Ann is both humbled and thrilled that her colleagues nominated her for this award.