National Music Education Award Recipient

The Canadian Music Educators’ Association (CMEA) awards program was established to acknowledge excellence in music education occurring across the country.  Awards are presented once every two years if there is a worthy recipient. One of these awards, the Jubilate Award of Merit, is presented in recognition of significant contribution to music education in Canada.
Donna Rhodenizer is the 2011 recipient of this award which was presented at the October 2011 Nova Scotia Music Educators’ Association (NSMEA) conference in Antigonish, NS by Sean McLennon, Past President of NSMEA. Donna’s music education colleagues acknowledged her accomplishment with a standing ovation as she received her award.

Donna is currently an elementary music education specialist at Kings County Academy in Kentville, NS. Donna’s involvement in music education began while she was still in university. She taught private violin and piano students  while attending Acadia University and continued instructing violin students as she pursued her Masters of Music Education at Brandon University.

When Donna began teaching elementary school music in 1985, she started composing songs for her students to sing. Since then, she has published 60 songs in eight publications, two of which are in French, two dozen choral octavos, multiple violin and piano compositions and 10 recordings. She is a Juno nominee and an ECMA winner, representing endorsement by the music industry for her excellent children’s recordings.

Donna’s music is well-loved by students and teachers alike for its imagination, musicality and memorable tunes. Her music has been used and performed by elementary school students and choirs across Canada and the US as well as in Austria, Ireland, Spain, Sierra Leone, Australia, Trinidad and Tobago, England and Nepal.

Donna is also known for her choral writing and is in demand as a commissioned composer. She was commissioned by the NSMEA to write a composition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the NSMEA. Her song, “Celebrate!” was premiered at the conference by a group of her enthusiastic teaching colleagues and included singers, handbells, recorder, percussion and piano. 

Donna not only creates music for students, she also shares her passion for music and her knowledge and wealth of teaching experience with music educators across the country. She has presented workshops for teachers in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

One of the mandates of the CMEA organization is to “foster the advancement of teaching and the life-long learning of music.”  Donna Rhodenizer  has certainly internalized that mandate with creative passion, the results of which have provided music educators and their students a rich and lasting legacy of music.

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