Skip to main content
Add Me To Your Mailing List
HomeOCTA Award


The ORMTA has an abundance of members who dedicate much time and passion to teaching their students, helping this organization, and volunteering within their communities.  It is with this spirit that the ORMTA recognizes these exceptional individuals on an annual basis with an ORMTA Contribution to Teaching Award (or OCTA, previously Special Teacher Award).

ORMTA branches are invited to nominate one of their members for this award in any one year. The nominee must have been a member of the ORMTA or one of the other provincial Associations within the CFMTA for at least ten years.  Further criteria to nominate colleagues are determined by the individual branches. The branch invites the nominee to the annual ORMTA Awards Luncheon where they will be recognized for their achievements and receive a certificate.  The nominee will also be featured in a future edition of NOTES Magazine.



(You must be logged in to access this form)

For more information, please contact OCTA Convener, Amy Boyes

OCTA Award Recipients

Click here to view all previous OCTA Award Recipients


2020 OCTA Award Recipients


View a brief video here on our 2020 OCTA Award Recipients, or read on below for full biographies.

            
                
             


Accordion Widget
Arianne Ewing-Chow (North York/York Region Branch)
Arianne Ewing-Chow (North York/York Region Branch)
Arianne Ewing-Chow is a piano teacher, examiner with the Royal Conservatory of Music, and an experienced adjudicator.  Her passion and desire in her teaching life, is to merge the students’ emotions with the written output of the composer, to create an intended musical expression. Her focus begins inherently on the physical aspects of playing to then have the tools to create ease of flow of energy through the fingertips. 

Her musical background has helped her build a foundation on most levels of study, from the keen excited beginner to the more committed advanced performer. Her desire to travel and study music led her abroad to international masterclasses in Bad Bertrich, Germany where she studied with John Perry.  As well, she gained much insight under Brian Ganz and Luis de Moura Castro at the Almalfi Coast Music Festival.  She also performed in the ten-piano monster concert in Rome and Toronto organized by Toyich International Projects.  

Her approach and inspiration for her teaching and adjudicating style comes from influences and/or teachers such as James Anagnoson, Marc Durand, Richard Goode and the late Boyanna Toyich. Her students have received numerous scholarships, and awards and top recognition including the Gold Medal for the highest mark on an RCM examination.

Through ‘Music with a Cause’ concerts, Arianne alongside other giving artists, have raised funds for the MS Society of Canada, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Canada, The North York General Hospital, The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada, and The Canadian Cancer Society.  

Arianne’s credentials include Glenn Gould Professional School – Artist Teacher and Performer, University of Toronto – Bachelor of Music, Royal Conservatory of Music – ARCT Performer and ARCT Teacher, member of the College of Examiners, ORMTA – member and past president of the North York-York Region Branch.

From the Branch:

Arianne Ewing-Chow is a very encouraging teacher and has been a committed member of the North York-York region branch for 18 years.  She always extends a helping hand to younger members or new members to lead them through the process for auditions and recitals and enjoys seeing the younger colleagues succeed in our craft of teaching and adjudicating. 

Arianne’s dedication to music also includes adjudicating music festivals. When she adjudicates, her main goal is to add a little more spark to that joy of playing the piano, by finding positive aspects in the performance, and guiding these students forward through what they do well already.  Her creative approach in adjudicating and teaching, is to find connections through life and nature to provide ideas on how to physically or emotionally adjust the playing. 

In 2007, she was Co-President of her ORMTA branch. For the past decade she has been the Awards Festival Convener, successfully organizing multiple recitals where the students receive medals, trophies and/or scholarships, ensuring a positive experience for all involved. Arianne’s priority is to bring awareness to the students, of the importance of music, community, and how it enriches lives individually and collectively. 




Accordion Widget
Doranne Minotti (Niagara Falls Branch)
Doranne Minotti (Niagara Falls Branch)
Doranne Minotti began her musical studies at the age of four. She studied privately for fourteen years with Jacqueline Dingman and Rivoli Iesulauro, after which she moved to Waterloo, where she received her Degree in Piano Performance from Wilfrid Laurier University. After performing professionally for seven years, Doranne shifted her focus to teaching, which she has enjoyed immensely for the past 29 years. 

Doranne has been a member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association’s (ORMTA) Board of Examiners and was a member of the Provincial Council of ORMTA for nine years. She completed her term as ORMTA Provincial President in 2008. 

In her hometown of Niagara Falls, Doranne teaches piano at Princess Margaret Elementary School and maintains her own private teaching studio. She remains robustly involved with her local ORMTA Branch and is active as a music festival adjudicator across Ontario. Currently she is the Niagara Falls ORMTA Branch president and has spearheaded the ORMTA 2020 convention planning and fund-raising initiatives. Doranne is an avid supporter of the Arts in the Niagara region and it is no secret that she is obsessed with the Harry Potter stories and music, which provides balance to her unique personality. Many are convinced that Doranne is magical and they would be correct.

From the Branch:

The Niagara Falls branch of ORMTA nominated the branch President, Doranne Minotti, for this award because she is fabulous. Her generosity, energy, creativity and leadership continue to motivate and energize the branch. Doranne’s community spirit and strength of character is boundless We are thrilled to honour our colleague, leader and dear friend. Always. 


Accordion Widget
Eric Shaw (Central Toronto Branch)
Eric Shaw (Central Toronto Branch)
Eric Shaw has established an international reputation through performances at a number of renowned musical centres. From The Wexford Festival and Aldeburgh to Lincoln Center, Tanglewood and Genoa he has been lauded for “singing and acting with fluent ease and charm” (Michael Kennedy, Sunday Telegraph, London, UK).  Singing credits include performances with The American Symphony Orchestra under Botstein, Utah Opera, Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania (La Cenerentola), Elora Festival, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Amadeus Choir, Bologna Opera, as well as across Canada in Operatic and Concert roles.  He can be heard on Naxos recordings of Wexford Festival’s Prinzessin Brambilla and Die Drei Pintos.  

Presently, Eric is busy with his private voice and piano studio that he has been building for the past 20 years.  In 2012, he decided to add his experience to the music programs in the TDSB and became a music teacher through OISE.  Eric is currently a supply music teacher as well as an assistant conductor, accompanist and répétiteur for North Toronto Collegiate, Lawrence Park Collegiate and Rosedale Heights school choirs.  He is also an accompanist for vocal students in their various recitals and competitions.  For the past two years, Eric has been music director for the productions of The Sound of Music and Willy Wonka at St. Clement’s High School in Toronto. 
Some other passions outside of one-on-one teaching include choral workshops for various choirs such as The Serenata Singers, The Bel Canto Singers, Symes Senior Choir and various choral organizations in the TDSB.  Eric has adjudicated various festivals such as Contemporary Showcase Mississauga, Porcupine Festival (Timmins, ON), and is slated for the Quinte Festival (Belville) next season.  He has recently completed his training for the Royal Conservatory Adjudicator certification program.  
In addition to the musical side of theatre, Eric has stage-directed productions such as, The Wizard of Oz (Arts Integra at Markham Theatre), Carmen, Don Giovanni and Barber of Seville (Summer Opera festival at The Soo Theatre in Michigan).

Eric Shaw is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and has been a member of ORMTA since 2008.  He served on the executive first as the Auditions Coordinator and then as Vice President and President.  Following this, he served on the Provincial Council for 3 years.  Eric is truly humbled and gratified to receive the OCTA award this season. 

From the Branch:

We nominated Eric because of his unfailing dedication to our branch. When I joined (Liz speaking) in 2014 he was our President and always held the most delightful meetings at his house and was on top of all of our details. As a voice teacher, he was always trying to involve vocal students and perspectives which was appreciated. As you know he has gone on to be part of the Provincial council and continues to be an active member and an excellent teacher of our branch. We are honored to be able to nominate him. 


 
      
         


Accordion Widget
Hoda Nassim (Ottawa Region Branch)
Hoda Nassim (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, a 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.
 
From the Branch:

Hoda has been an active member of the Ottawa Region Branch for decades and has served on Council. She brings passion to all that she does and has inspired and guided generations of young musicians


Accordion Widget
Joy Lippert (Oxford County-Woodstock Branch)
Joy Lippert (Oxford County-Woodstock Branch)
Joy Lippert grew up in the town of Mitchell, Ontario, starting piano lessons at the age of 5. At the age of 16, having achieved her Grade 8 piano, she started teaching piano, going from house to house on her bicycle. She also studied organ in Mitchell, later spending her summers in Toronto studying organ and school music at what was then the Toronto Conservatory. In 1949 she took on her first organist job in Petrolia, as well as continuing her piano teaching and teaching school music in Mitchell. Even then musicians had to be prepared to wear several hats and travel from one job to another. Joy achieved Grade 8 voice, Grade 9 violin, ARCT piano, and ARCCO organ certificates, studying with a variety of teachers including Irwin Luther, Henry Clark and Cora Ahrens. She originally joined ORMTA as a member of Stratford Branch, later transferring to Oxford County/ Woodstock Branch, where she was an active, contributing member until quite recently. She was also very involved in the Woodstock Rotary Festival of Music.

In 1952 Joy became organist at Old St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Woodstock, a position that lasted 16 years until 1968. She also taught piano in Woodstock, commuting from Mitchell, finally moving to Woodstock permanently when she married. With the birth of her daughter Mary in 1969 she gave up the organist job, but continued actively teaching in Woodstock. In 1984 she became organist at All Saints Anglican Church and stayed there for 20 years, before going back to Old St. Paul’s in 2008, a position from which she just recently retired.
All in all Joy has worked as a church organist for a total of 51 years and taught piano in Woodstock well into her 80’s. Joy celebrated her 90th birthday in September 2019, surrounded by family, friends and ORMTA colleagues. She continues to live in her home in Woodstock and keeps busy with a variety of activities.

From the Branch:

The Oxford/Woodstock ORMTA teacher would like to nominate Joy Lippert for a teaching award in 2020. Throughout her teaching career she has taught hundreds of students and has passed on her passion and appreciation of music. Many of Joy’s students have received scholarships and awards and some have gone on to study music at a higher level of education. Joy had a high standard of learning and her students exceled under her training.

Joy has also been a great mentor and inspiration to the teachers in our branch. She has given us many pedagogy ideas during our meetings and has encouraged us in our teaching. We have valued her leadership throughout her many years of teaching. 


Accordion Widget
Judi Ayotte (Markham-Stouffville Branch)
Judi Ayotte (Markham-Stouffville Branch)
Judi Ayotte began piano and theory lessons at the age of twelve. Upon graduating from high school, Judi trained as a nurse at the Regina Grey Nuns Hospital. Judi and her family, including four children, moved to Markam, ON in 1970 and she resumed piano lessons in 1976 with Nadine Nidle at Loretta Abbey and theory with Molly Slater, Joe Marcello and Bill Andrews. She obtained her Associate Diploma (ARCT) in 1981 and a year later helped form the ORMTA Markham-Stouffville Branch with Paula Brown and Doris Bates. In following years, she served in various positions including President, Secretary and Treasurer. She is currently the Education Convenor. Judi continues her own education by frequently attending teaching workshops.

Judi’s goal in teaching – ages 6 to 80 – is to instill a love for music and awareness of the benefits of music. Judi has always determined to never belittle a student and no student leaves her studio without her having pointed out at least one musical accomplishment. 

She has contributed to her community as a singalong accompanist at a nursing home for 8 years, an accompanist for high school student at their instrumental exams, and a pianist at social parties. Judi looks back on the past forty years as an amazing and fulfilling journey that it continues to be.


From the Branch:

It is a tremendous pleasure for the Markham Stouffville Branch of ORMTA to nominate Judi Ayotte for this recognition of teaching distinction within our musical community.

Judi has been a pillar of our branch since 1982, during which time she has held all the principal
executive positions in our branch including President. She continues to serve Markham-Stouffville ORMTA with distinction as the Education Coordinator in which she oversees workshops, master classes and other various outreach initiatives relative to our branch.

Judi is a woman and a teacher of tremendous integrity and dedication.  For over four decades she has fostered and nurtured the love of music in a great many students in our community. Her students have always done well on our branch auditions and have been an important part of our branch recitals and student outreach initiatives. Judi brings the very best of attributes to
her teaching: love, dedication and perseverance.  

We congratulate Judi on a wonderful contribution to teaching in the Markham Stouffville community, and for having earned this well-deserved award of recognition from her admiring and appreciative peers.  

Brava Judi!! 


  
            
             


Accordion Widget
Laura Gray (Hanover-Walkerton Branch)
Laura Gray (Hanover-Walkerton Branch)
At a young age, Laura knew she wanted to be a piano teacher. Throughout her school years she studied with Debra Wanless, and after completing Grade 10 with Western Ontario Conservatory of Music, Laura attended Brock University. In 1998 Laura graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance with piano pedagogy. She returned to her hometown of Harriston to start teaching piano and develop her own studio. She also worked as a ballet pianist for two dance academies. She married and started a family, while maintaining a busy teaching studio. Through many years of music studies, Laura's teaching philosophy became: "Never stop learning". 

In 2009 she completed an Associate Diploma in Piano Pedagogy with Canadian National Conservatory of Music (CNCM). Also in 2009, Laura ventured into the Music for Young ChildrenTM program, and added a new aspect to her music studio with class lessons. In 2010 Laura was appointed to the CNCM Board of Examiners for Piano. In 2013 Laura updated her education by completing the credits for the Primary-Elementary Pedagogy Diploma with CNCM. 

Laura has been a member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association since 1998. As an active member of the Hanover-Walkerton Branch she has served as Branch Treasurer, Branch Archives, and Branch President. She is currently on Provincial Council as Vice President and North Central Zone Rep. She has also served her local community of music teachers as the volunteer convenor of the Palmerston Canada Music Week Festival since 1999. Laura lives on a farm outside of Harriston with her husband, and their son and daughter. She works as a church organist and volunteers as a Sunday school music director. She has also volunteered with music projects in her community at the school of dance, the Grey-Wellington Theatre Guild, and Minto-Clifford Public School.

From the Branch:

The Hanover-Walkerton Branch of ORMTA is happy to nominate Laura for an OCTA Award. As many of you already know, Laura’s enthusiasm and creativity seem to know no bounds. She has shared her talents in her community as organist at her church, with her community theatre (both directing and acting), and involvement with the local dance academy. Laura has filled many roles in our ORMTA Branch’s executive, and also been our Zone Rep for several years. Now we congratulate her as she moves from her role as Provincial Vice President to President. At our branch, Laura always has a welcoming smile. She seems to have a never-ending supply of activities and games to share with our members to take back to their studios. Laura also is able to find really interesting Youtube videos for sharing and discussion. We are honoured to count Laura as one of our Branch members. 


Accordion Widget
Linda Indovina (Etobicoke-Mississauga Branch)
Linda Indovina (Etobicoke-Mississauga Branch)
Linda Indovina grew up in a home full of music. Her father was a talented singer in Toronto who sang in local shows and once shared dinner and a few songs with the legendary operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti. She first sat at a piano as a young girl and knew immediately that was where she belonged. She began her studies with Harry Jones, who came to her home to give her private lessons. “He was amazing,” says Gray, praising her teacher as a kind and patient instructor who noticed and nurtured her growing talent.

Gray spent many years playing the piano for her mother, a kidney transplant recipient, when she was sick at home. Gray’s mother, who received the kidney transplant in 1970, lived for another 33 years, and was the second-longest kidney transplant survivor.  She later studied music at the University of Toronto and spent years successfully managing floral shops, But missing the music that was the thread in her life she decided she would dedicate herself to passing on her love of music to the next generation.

She has more than 25 years of experience in piano theory and practical lessons.and runs the Linda Gray Piano Academy out of her home in Oakville. Her students have won many awards and scholarships but more importantly they all have grown as musicians and people with Linda's guidance. This year she witnessed one of her talented six-year-old students perform his debut at Carnegie Hall.

She is a multi-time winner of the Steinway teacher of the year award.The award, presented by the Steinway Piano Gallery in Toronto, which is given annually to a teacher in the Greater Toronto Area for outstanding instruction and leadership in piano education. She is also on the executive board of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association Etobicoke-Mississauga branch and on the board for the Contemporary Showcase of Canada. 

Music and teaching and caring for her students have kept her together, Linda says, along with the valuable fellow teachers of the ORMTA  who have been there for her as well. Linda is also appreciative of the many executive and fellow members in the  ORMTA Etobicoke-Mississauga branch who have helped her along the way and generously nominated her for this special honour. Thanks as well to all of you who spread the love of music. Keep up the good work.

From the Branch:

Etobicoke-Mississauga proudly presents Linda Indovina as our 2020 OCTA recipient. For the past 18 years, our Branch has had the honour of having Linda as a very active member.  Linda’s introduction to Etobicoke Mississauga ORMTA, was when she studied with Anita Phillips, an eminent member of our Branch. This positive experience encouraged Linda to become a member. Linda’s teaching abilities soon surfaced as she entered her students in our Assessments and Recitals. Her students were well prepared, and their performances were a reflection of her excellent teaching. She approaches her career with professionalism, kindness and joy. She is always eager to volunteer, whether as an assistant at our Recitals and Assessments, or encouraging her teenage students to join in the volunteer aspect of our Branch. We are fortunate to have Linda on our Branch Executive, and she currently serves as our Outreach person. This she approaches with a cheery smile and much dedication to the job. Although Linda has encountered many health challenges along the way, she always has a positive and happy outlook, with a kind word for all she meets. 


Accordion Widget
Lynn Pigeon (Timmins Branch)
Lynn Pigeon (Timmins Branch)
Music has been an integral part of Lynn Pigeon’s life. As a child she was surrounded by a musical family – uncles and cousins who played guitar, fiddle, accordion, banjo and keyboards. She began piano lessons at the age of six with Sœur Maria Courteau in Timmins, Ontario. After high school, she attended The University of Western Ontario in the Honours Bachelor of Music program. She received a diploma in the Community Recreation Leadership Training Program at Montreal’s Dawson College. For ten years Lynn held the position of full-time recreation instructor at the Cochrane-Temiskaming Resource Centre in Timmins, working with mentally and physically challenged adults. Lynn then attended the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto from 1993-1994 to complete theoretical courses with Larysa Kuzmenko and music history courses with Janet Lopinski. She also had private piano lessons with Boyanna Toyich and Earle Moss, and completed the Level 10 piano exam in June 1996. For one year she replaced the music therapist in elementary schools, working with children who had special needs including autism, fragile X, and mental illnesses. She maintains a particular interest in teaching private music lessons to students with developmental difficulties. Lynn has been a member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association for thirteen years, and is currently President of the Timmins Branch. For more than 30 years, she has attended ORMTA professional development. She encourages her students to participate in recitals, music festivals, and practical and theoretical examinations. Lynn also enjoys sketching, painting, photography, and daily walks with her golden retriever/border collie mix named Precious. In the winter she can be found snowshoeing and in summer she loves canoeing, swimming and camping – a true Northerner!

From the Branch:

The Timmins Branch of the ORMTA is pleased to nominate Lynn Pigeon for the 2020 ORMTA Contribution to Teaching Award. Lynn has been a member of the Timmins Branch since May 24, 2007 and is currently serving as our Branch President. Over the years she has taken an active role in Branch activities such as meetings, concerts and workshops. She is a piano and theory teacher who is very involved with her students, and always encourages them to participate in our local music festival, along with theoretical and practical conservatory exams. Her students often receive the highest marks in our Branch on conservatory practical exams and receive Branch scholarships for their efforts. Lynn adds much value to the Timmins Branch, and is very deserving of this award. 


   
            
           


Accordion Widget
Dr. Marnie Van Weelden (Kitchener-Waterloo Branch)
Dr. Marnie Van Weelden (Kitchener-Waterloo Branch)
Dr. Marnie Van Weelden enjoys a versatile career as a pianist and devoted teacher.  At a young age she started teaching and knew that it would be a lifelong passion.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree and a gold medal from Western University studying with Gwen Beamish.  She then completed both Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in piano performance and pedagogy at the University of Michigan on full scholarship.  Her teachers there included Louis Nagel and Logan Skelton.  During her studies she had the opportunity to perform in international masterclasses and workshops in the Czech Republic, London England, and at Adamant Music School in Vermont, US.

She joined the faculty of Wilfrid Laurier University in 2007 where she teaches piano and piano pedagogy.  Her doctoral research focused on the Alexander Technique and how it can help to develop an integrative approach to technical choreography and injury prevention.  She is in demand as a festival adjudicator, workshop clinician, and is a member of the Royal Conservatory’s College of Examiners.  Her students have received scholarships at various festivals and won top prizes at competitions including the OMFA Provincial Concerto Competition, OMFA Solo Instrumental Competition, and most recently the award for the most promising performer overall at last year’s ORMTA provincial finals in Mississauga.  The most fulfilling part of the teaching journey for her is finding a special connection with each student and fostering the emergence of their unique musical personality.  She has literally done cartwheels around the room and tried to dance the floss to captivate the attention of her students!

Marnie strives to pursue a meaningful connection between teaching, performing, and community engagement.  She has performed as both a soloist and with orchestra, a collaborative pianist, and a volunteer church musician.  Currently she is enjoying exploring duet repertoire with Dr. Rebekah Jordan-Miller as part of their duo, Blondes on 88.  Rebekah and Marnie co-launched a new program for motivated young pianists called PEPP (Piano Enrichment Performance Program) at the Beckett School at Laurier. They perform in various concerts and charity events such as the KW-ORMTA Gala Benefit this past fall in support of the Community Music School of Waterloo Region. Marnie serves as a teacher mentor providing pedagogy training for the teachers at CMSWR, a program that offers lessons to children and teens who otherwise would not have the opportunity to study music.  She is both grateful and humbled to be honoured with an OCTA award this year!

From the Branch:

On behalf of KW ORMTA we would like to nominate Marnie Van Weelden for the 2020 OCTA Contribution to Teaching Award. Marnie has been a member of the KW branch since 2006 . Marnie is a vibrant and energetic individual who adds a fun flair to everything she volunteers, participates and organizes. Marnie’s accomplishments are many. She joined the faculty of Wilfrid Laurier University thirteen years ago where she currently teaches piano and piano pedagogy. Her doctoral research focused on the Alexander Technique, a wonderful integrated approach to technical choreography and injury prevention. This is a great discipline and therapy to pass along to developing young students and also for older teachers who are forced to adapt to prevent injuries and who still want to play recreationally. Marnie’s skills go beyond teaching as she is also a soloist, a collaborative duo partner, an examiner and a workshop clinician. Marnie inspires and encourages each student to project their best, have fun and enjoy! And as we know with great teachers like Marnie providing great instruction the rest follows……… Thank you Marnie. 


Accordion Widget
Michael Faulkner (Kingston Branch)
Michael Faulkner (Kingston Branch)
Growing up in Stirling, Ontario, Michael Faulkner remembers sitting on his mother’s knee at age two with a big smile on his face, mesmerized by the piano. He fondly recalls playing the piano duets Jesus Loves Me and Music Box Dancer with his mother at age five. He also loved to watch his grandfather and mother play with happiness and joy. Michael remembers being fascinated with the organist at his childhood church, thinking that one day he would like to do that. Michael went on to do just that. Michael began piano lessons with his mother at the age of four, and by the age of 11 started teaching piano lessons and playing the organ for his church.

Known for musical insight, beautiful tone, and technical command, Michael studied at Queen’s University and is also a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music (A.R.C.T., Piano and Voice Performance and Pedagogy). He participated in music festivals and competitions, where he received many top awards.

Michael has enjoyed a rewarding, 36-year career as teacher, performer, collaborative pianist, church musician, adjudicator, workshop and masterclass clinician and Conservatory Canada examiner. He is an active member of the ORMTA, Kingston Branch and is currently Eastern Zone rep for Provincial Council. He sits on the Ontario Music Festivals Association Board and local festival boards such as Stirling Festival of Sacred Praise, and consults for the Quinte Rotary Music Festival. In addition, Michael maintains a thriving music studio and directs a popular 60-voice choir, “Let’s Make a Choir”, which performs two seasonal concerts entirely for charity, supporting the local Christmas Sharing Program, Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides, Adopt-A-Child Warm Winter Clothes program and other local charities. 

As a piano teacher, Michael takes pride in the everyday successes of his students and fosters his students’ ability to collaborate and communicate their love and joy of music. He is also delighted to have a few exceptional students make it through the Associate and Licentiate levels and finds it very rewarding when a student pursues a career in teaching music or performance themselves. As an examiner and adjudicator, Michael loves to help others reach their goals and dreams. Michael explains that we are all “in it” together and that it truly does take a community to make it happen. Alongside a life-long passion for music, Michael is an avid animal lover and enjoys theatre, gardening, travelling and hiking.

From the Branch:

Kingston Branch of ORMTA is delighted to nominate Michael Faulkner for this award for 2020. He is most deserving of this recognition.  During Michael’s 10 years of dedication to ORMTA, he has demonstrated great support for all of our branch’s teachers and activities. He brings his students to Kingston for festivals and recitals, tirelessly advocates for them, and encourages them to offer their own talents to benefit others. He willingly offers his technical, administrative and musical expertise, and he is incredibly generous, as demonstrated by his donations of money collected at his student recitals to various local charities. We are grateful to him for helping on the committee to put together our successful bid to host the 2022 convention. As well, Michael is simply one of the most kind, humble and compassionate people you will ever meet. 


Accordion Widget
Tom Oliver (Hamilton-Halton Branch)
Tom Oliver (Hamilton-Halton Branch)
Tom Oliver BA MUS, ORMTA, NATS, CAEA, is in high demand as a voice teacher and adjudicator. His studio, Voice Concepts, (Hamilton ON.) has prepared and trained young singers for Universities and Colleges throughout North America. He has trained artists with the Shaw and Stratford Festivals, Broadway (Jersey Boys, Rock of Ages, and Book of Mormons) Dancap, Theatre Aquarius. 

In 2016, Tom co-founded The Hamilton Music Festival with colleague, Diane Manojlovich. From 2004 to 2019, Tom collaborated as a member of the Voice Faculty at Sheridan College Music Theatre (Hon. BA. Music Theatre and Performing Arts Preparatory Divisions).

Tom is a graduate of The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (BA.MUS). He performed as principal artist with Sacramento Opera, Vancouver Symphony and Opera Company, Canadian Opera Company, Rainbow Stage, Theatre Plus, Canada Opera Piccola. Tom began his teaching career in his final year of University. He retired from performance in 1993 to continue his voice research in neuro-science application to vocal production.

Tom is the youngest of seven children, raised on a market gardening farm near Embro, On. In 1975, Tom moved to Toronto to continue studies at the RCMT. He travelled on scholarship, to Banff School of Fine Arts. Met Leopold Simoneau and Pierrette Alarie who brought him to San Francisco Conservatory. Master classes with Pavarotti, Hotter and lectures from Sills, Price, Sutherland and others confirm Tom’s approach to core voice work. Tom debuted with several national companies and returned to Ontario to participate in Toronto Symphony programme. He founded ‘Voice Concepts’ private voice studio and debuted with Canadian Opera Company. In 1993 he left performance to commit fully to teaching voice. In 2003 Tom moved to Hamilton to collaborate with mentors, Pauline and Lou Zamprogna.  In 2004 he became a faculty member of Sheridan Music Theatre programme. In 2019 Tom retired from Sheridan to continue research and focus on private studio, which now exceeds 100 students.

From the Branch:

Tom Oliver personifies the ideals of our members. As a long time performer, teacher, coach, adjudicator, mentor and vocal director extraordinaire, he consistently continues to be a role model for others. He has a gift to inspire young people and to tap into their full range of capabilities. His supportive ways to encourage them often remains long after they leave his tutelage. In 2016, Tom took action to write the ORMTA Provincial Council on behalf of our Branch to support the continuation of the Children's Activity Tax Credit. Within his letter, he demonstrated his true belief in The Arts by sharing the need and the benefits resulting from consistent music programmes. The support Tom has demonstrated for our community has been done with a sense of humour, integrity and his Joie de Vivre. If you take Music lessons with Tom, you are also guaranteed a life lesson to be the best you can be.