2018 ORMTA Contribution to Teaching Award Recipients

Congratulations to these ORMTA members who are OCTA recipients. 

The Awards Luncheon was held Saturday, July 28th during the Provincial ORMTA 2018 Covention in Ottawa, ON.    

Based on nominations by their branches, each of these special teachers received this award in recognition of their excellence in teaching and dedication to this organization.

Dorion Carmichael   Christiane Ermel   Joseph Ferretti   Meg Freer   Jacquie Huffman-Krisza   Sue Jones Elaine Lau   Sarah Lawton   Irene Fong Leung   Sheila McLean   Joanne Westover


Dorion Carmichael

Dorion began her piano studies at the age of 8 with the Sisters of St. Joseph's in Thunder Bay. She holds a B. Mus. in performance from Queen's University, the Lehdiplom fur Klavier from the Basel Konservatorium in Switzerland as well as the performer's ARCT and LTCL.           

In 1980, Dorion participated in the 2nd International Masterclass for Chopin Interpretation at Schloss Grafenegg, Krems, Austria. (Picture no. 1) The principal instructor was Adam Harasiewicz, winner of the 1955 International Chopin Competition.

Dorion has performed extensively as soloist and chamber musician internationally and taught for the Basel Musik Akademie, Regionale Musikschule Laufental-Theirstein, and the International School of Basel. From 1989 to 2001 she was adjunct professor of piano at Wilfrid Laurier University and is in her 30th year at the Beckett School. Her students have received numerous scholarships, awards for Chopin interpretation, RCM gold medal, and won the K-W Chamber Orchestra's concerto competition.

Christiane Ermel

Christiane completed her ARCT Performance and Teachers diplomas under the tutelage of Ronald Schmoll. She has also studied under with York University’s Stephanie Sebastian and pianist Jane coop. As she began her teaching career, Mr. Schmoll encouraged her to join ORMTA. Through the years, she has participated enthusiastically in the Association’s activities and as a council member.

Christiane has become a wonderful teacher who brings out the best in her students by giving them encouragement and the love for music through the learning process. Christiane places an emphasis on ensemble playing which probably stems from her time the Royal Conservatory Chamber Orchestra where as a young child she played second violin.

An active member in the community, she arranges student recitals in senior residences and nursing homes. In 2005 she was part of a joint charitable student benefit concert that raised over $10,000 for Free the Children.

She is honoured to have been nominated by her colleagues for the ORMTA Contribution to Teaching Award.     

Joseph Ferretti

Joseph Ferretti enjoys a varied career as a soloist, collaborative artist and teacher.  Notable performances include the COC’s Piano Virtuoso series, the Music Gallery, Barrie’s Colours of Music, the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society, NUMUS, the Open Ears Festival, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Talisker Players.  He performs frequently as a member of the award winning junctQín keyboard collective, and as duo pianist with Elaine Lau, with whom he has recorded for Capstone Records.  Active across Canada as a festival adjudicator, he also serves as an RCM senior examiner and online pedagogy course facilitator.

He has presented for the CFMTA National Convention, RCM Keyboard Summer Summit, The Glenn Gould School and Mount Allison University, among others. A contributing executive member of the Central Toronto branch of the ORMTA, Joseph has co-produced branch newsletters and served as Young Artist recital convenor. Dr. Ferretti has taught piano at Wilfrid Laurier University since 2003.

Meg Freer

Meg Freer worked in book publishing in the U.S., before moving to Kingston with her husband, and taught piano at the Kingston School of Music for fifteen years. She now teaches mostly music history and harmony from home and continues to be active as an accompanist, as she has since age 10.

Kingston branch is delighted to nominate Meg for the OCTA for 2018. She is most deserving of this recognition.  Meg has been president of our branch for the past 11 years, and she is definitely the glue which holds our branch together. She constantly keeps us informed not only of ORMTA announcements but also local musical events. Meg is always supportive of ORMTA activities in Kingston and willingly organizes special events such as the Young Artist Tour recital and the ORMTA Instrumental Competition.  She does all this despite a very busy piano studio and a young family. 

Jacquie Huffman-Krisza

Jacquie Huffman-Krisza has an ARCT (Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto), an Honours B.Music (McMaster University), a B.Ed. (University of Toronto),  and a M.Ed. (Brock University). An ORMTA member for thirty years, she served as the Southern Zone Representative on the Provincial Council.  Retired from Hillfield Strathallan College as their Montessori and Junior School’s Music Specialist for twenty seven years and as a church organist/choir director for over fifty years. She currently enjoys her family, including her three grandchildren, her students, and being Rotary Burlington Music Festival’s Artistic Director. Whether teaching private students from ages 4 yr. to 94 yr. or classroom students, Jacquie's goal has always been to develop musical intelligence in others with a smile with the joy of what she loves to do.

The OCTA award is a special honour for which she is most appreciative.

Sue Jones

Sue Jones has been a proud member of ORMTA since 1995. 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.

At her first general branch meeting, Sue volunteered, going on to head the phone committee, serve as branch secretary, new members’ convenor, newsletter editor, competitions convenor and eventually branch President. 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 CFMTA. As CFMTA Awards and Competitions Chair, Sue coordinates the CFMTA National Piano Competition. 

Sue has taught in Ottawa for the past thirty years and currently has a studio of 35 students. She is a proud mother of three, grandmother of one, and mother-in-law of two.

Elaine Lau

A versatile musician and educator, pianist Elaine Lau has performed with numerous orchestras, and broadcast on CBC Radio 2, National Public Radio (USA) and Rondo Classic (Finland). In addition to her interest in the standard literature, Elaine also regularly premieres new works and is a founding member of junctQín, a Toronto-based contemporary keyboard collective. As duo pianist with Joseph Ferretti, Ms. Lau has performed across North America and recorded for Capstone Records.  She is active nationally as an adjudicator and RCM senior examiner. 

Elaine served as keyboard faculty at the National Youth Orchestra of Canada (2013) and has been teaching piano at Wilfrid Laurier University since 2003.  She has been a contributing executive member of the Central Toronto branch of the ORMTA, co-organizing newsletters, master classes and workshops.  Ms. Lau holds graduate degrees in piano performance and pedagogy from the Glenn Gould School and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory.

Sarah Lawton

Sarah Lawton is passionate about music and is committed to enriching the lives of her students through music education. Sarah feels truly fortunate to have studied with mentor and principal teacher Cheryl Graham to earn the ARCT Piano Teacher’s Diploma. She also has a Hons. B.A. Specializing in Musicology and Music Education from York University. Sarah regularly volunteers on worship teams.  Sarah is blessed to say that the absolute highlight and accomplishment in her piano teaching career has been the training of her own two children in piano into their Senior Levels. 

Sarah has been a strong supporter of all ORMTA activities since joining in 2002. Sarah is the President of the ORMTA Barrie Branch and maintains a thriving studio in Barrie, ON. Sarah is very grateful to her ORMTA colleagues in the Barrie Branch for all of the support and inspiration they have given her.

Irene Fong Leung

Irene Fong Leung holds an ARCT Piano Teacher Diploma and Advanced Piano Pedagogy Certificate.  She is RCM Certified specialists in piano and theory in all three levels.  Her students have excellent RCM exam results including RCM Gold Medal.  One of her students performed in a winners’ recital in Carnegie Hall.

She has been an active ORMTA member for over ten years.  She served as the vice-president of the North York/ York Region Branch and on the Provincial Council as GTA Zone Representative, Affiliate Member Liaison and Pedagogy Award Winner Convenor.

Academically she received M.Sc., B. Sc. and B.Ed. degrees and a computer LAN diploma.  When she worked as a chemist, quality control manager, food and drug inspector and secondary school teacher, she was a weekend piano teacher and church choir member.  Now she has been teaching piano and theory for over 20 years.

She thanks her branch for nominating her for the ORMTA Contribution to Teaching Award.

Sheila McLean

Sheila is delighted to have been chosen as the OCTA recipient for the Newmarket & Area Branch.

At the age of six, a small singing scholarship started Sheila on her music journey, and from then on, she was immersed into the world of music education: piano lessons, music camps, concert and stage bands, Piano Performance at Wilfrid Laurier University, oboist with the Sudbury Symphony, teacher at Marymount College School of Music, ARCT with Earl Moss, choir/music leader at various churches, and currently, piano accompanist with The Harmony Chorale.

Over the years, Sheila has taken great pleasure in passing on to her students, the positive influences given to her by her music mentors. As an active member of ORMTA since joining in 2005, Sheila has served as President, and Vice President. In particular, she enjoys convening and promoting Canada Music Week events with the Newmarket & Area Branch.

Sheila maintains a busy music studio, striving to instill her own love of music in students of all ages.

Jo-Anne Westover

Jo-Anne Westover started piano lessons at the age of 10. By 15, she was in Grade 10 and studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music. She credits her teachers Simone Lesley, Laurie Evan Fraser and Earle Moss for her success.

Jo-Anne has been teaching for over 45 years. She commits one hour per day to practicing, plus another hour of Harmony, History or Analysis. She provides mock exams, master classes, trips to the opera, and various festival and competition opportunities for her students.

Many of her students have won medals and scholarships for their achievements. For the past 10 years, her students have been chosen to compete at the Provincial Level, where they have either won or received Honourable Mention.

Through ORMTA, Jo-Anne has built many relationships with other teachers, encouraging each other and sharing ideas. She has served ORMTA as president and has been secretary for the past 10 years.



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