From the press release: “Shocked and amazed are some of the many words to describe the reaction of local Winnipeg music teacher Jeff Kula of River East Collegiate (REC) as MusiCounts presented him with the 2014 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award at a surprise assembly today. Announced by Allan Reid, Director, MusiCounts, to an auditorium filled with students and faculty, the award was officially presented by 2014 JUNO Award Country Album of the Year nominee, Gord Bamford.
“The MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award recognizes the incredible, dedicated and hard-working music teachers in Canada who encourage music education for many young Canadians. Sponsored by the Gord Bamford Charitable Foundation this year, Bamford was on-hand to present the award and additionally announce a generous contribution of $100,000 that will be given to MusiCounts programs over the next three years.
“‘If I wouldn’t have started music at a young age, and started in school, I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at today,’ says Bamford. ‘It creates dreams. It’s a dream I eventually started chasing, and it’s come true for me. It all started in grade four and I have my teacher to thank for that. I want to make a difference, and giving back is the most rewarding thing that I’ve been able to do.’
“For Kula, the award recognizes his 27-year career, 15 of which have been spent as the sole full-time Instrumental Music Director at REC. Of the 950 students who attend the collegiate, 20% are enrolled in the music program due to his leadership, reputation and ability to motivate students to produce music. Over the years, he has established a variety of instrumental groups including concert band, jazz percussion ensembles and small chamber groups. Beyond the already extensive hours that his music program demands, he is extremely generous with his time, often accompanying young players to the music store on weekends to help them get mouthpieces and driving forgotten instruments to students’ homes around the city. Known as an innovator that inspires the next generation of musicians, Kula has implemented student-produced videos and art as part of band performances, clinics with veteran session players, and placement in competitions throughout North America for students to participate in.”
MusiCounts, Canada’s music education charity associated with The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) is helping to keep music alive in schools across Canada. MusiCounts’ mission is to ensure that children in Canada, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances or cultural background, have access to music programs through their schools.