On February 1, MusiCounts, Canada’s leading music education charity, announced Dianne Winmill of North Hastings High School in Bancroft, ON as the recipient of the 2017 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award. Canadian music icons and multi-platinum JUNO Award-winning artists, Blue Rodeo, are the sponsors of this year’s award, which recognizes teachers with outstanding dedication to inspiring and nurturing the musical growth of Canadian youth. Blue Rodeo members, Jim Cuddy (vocals/guitar), Bazil Donovan (bass), and Colin Cripps (guitar/vocals), surprised Winmill with the award during a tour of their Toronto recording studio with several of her students. Following the presentation, the students had an exclusive opportunity to record in the studio.
“We are thrilled to sponsor this award as teachers like Dianne do endless work to inspire their students and keep music alive in schools, which is something that is very important to us,” said Jim Cuddy, Blue Rodeo.”I think the value of music programs is immeasurable in the development of a young person’s identity in being part of a community,” added Colin Cripps, Blue Rodeo.
Winmill will receive $10,000 plus a $10,000 contribution to her school’s music program. In addition, she will experience VIP treatment throughout JUNO Week, attending the Chairman’s Reception and the JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards, and will walk the red carpet at the JUNO Awards Broadcast on April 2 in Ottawa.
“We are honoured to have an iconic band like Blue Rodeo sponsor this year’s MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award,” said Kristy Fletcher, Director, MusiCounts. “Music education was an important part of their lives, and Dianne’s dedication to enhancing the lives of her students through music, both inside the classroom and out is truly inspiring.”
Winmill has been a music teacher for 20 years, with 16 years spent teaching at North Hastings High School. Her passion for music is demonstrated through her tireless work to promote music education in both her school and community. Winmill developed a first of its kind Royal Conservatory music program for her students, is involved in several community music organizations, and through her guidance the school band has also performed for numerous feeder schools and community groups.
“I feel completely blessed to be selected by MusicCounts for this remarkable award, that recognizes music education across the country,” said Dianne Winmill. “I would also like to thank Blue Rodeo for sponsoring the award. I am truly honoured and share this with all the music teachers who are making a difference.”