Earlier this month, on February 1st, in the Blue Rodeo Studios in Toronto, three members of the iconic Canadian band presented the MusiCounts 2017 Teacher of the Year Award to Dianne Winmill from North Hastings High School in Bancroft, Ontario. They are also this year’s sponsors of the award.
The MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award was established in 2005 to recognize and honour dedicated music teachers who keep music alive in Canadian schools. The Award pays tribute to the accomplishments of one exceptional music teacher.
Each year, the award is sponsored or presented by a band or artist. Past presenters have included The Rolling Stones, Michael Bublé, Céline Dion, Shania Twain, Tragically Hip, Anne Murray, Billy Talent, Johnny Reid, Gord Bamford, MAGIC and now Blue Rodeo.
Winmill, and several of her students, made the trip to meet with MusiCounts staff, tour the studio and had the opportunity to do some recording. Little did she know that Jim Cuddy, Colin Cripps and Bazil Donovan would also be there. The expression on Winmill’s face as they walked in said it all; complete shock and amazement!
The dedicated teacher will receive $10,000 and $10,000 to her school’s music program. She will experience the VIP treatment during JUNO Week in Ottawa including walking the red carpet at the JUNO Awards Broadcast on Sunday April 2 in Ottawa, televised on CTV. To sweeten her trip to Toronto, Winmill and her husband also received tickets to the sold out Blue Rodeo show at Massey Hall.
Having a chance to ask Winmill how she enjoyed the show, she replied, “It was incredible! Massey Hall was fantastic and the concert itself was spectacular. We sat behind Gordon Lightfoot and Ed Robertson (Barenaked Ladies) and then, Gord Downie (Tragically Hip) came out on stage!”
MusiCounts is Canada’s music education charity and is affiliated with CARAS and the JUNO Awards. They celebrate musical excellence and put musical instruments into the hands of kids who need them the most. Their mission is to ensure that all children and youth in Canada have access to music education.
View the presentation:
Listen to the interview: