2021 Award Recipients

MTNA Achievement Award
Myrtle David, Founder and Executive Director
The DeBose Competition-Festival and Foundation

The MTNA Achievement Award, MTNA’s highest honor, is bestowed upon individuals and entities who have made significant and lasting contributions to the music teaching profession. The 2021 MTNA Achievement Award recipient is Myrtle David, Southern University professor emeritus of music, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music, cum laude, from Dillard University and a Master of Music degree and doctoral study at Boston University and Boston Conservatory of Music, studying with Leon Tumarkin and Bela Boszormenyi-Nagy. Prior to joining Southern University, she was at Grambling State. Cultivating music talent, drive, and creative initiative, piano studies began with support and encouragement from parents Jesse D. David, Jr. and Naomi S. David.

Myrtle has guided the DeBose Fine Arts Series & Competition as executive director from its initial position as a departmental program of the Southern University Music Department, to its current position as a major arts festival in Louisiana. Established as a commemoration to the life and career of Professor Tourgee DeBose, chair of the piano department at Southern University, it was established in 1974.

The mission of the DeBose Fine Arts Series & Competition is to provide community collaboration through arts enrichment and achievement experiences in the literary, visual and performing arts. Annual programming is implemented through independent artist and educational partnerships with many Baton Rouge-area schools, multidisciplinary collaboration, and community arts agencies. Provisions include professional and non-professional performance and exhibition opportunities through competitive and non-competitive events; honors recognitions; intergenerational programs; cultural mentoring and artist residencies. The multi-disciplinary programming has featured: artists-in-residence/recitals and master class; jazz and blues piano; music marketing; music technology; collaborative piano (duet & duo); and chamber music, to name just a few topics. For more information visit https://www.debosefineartsseries-competition.com/.

MTNA Teacher of the Year
Benjamin D. Caton, III, NCTM

The MTNA Teacher of the Year Award recognizes a teacher who has made a significant difference in the lives of students, has contributed to the advancement of music in their community and is an outstanding example of a professional music educator. The recipient of the 2021 MTNA Teacher of the Year Award is Benjamin D. Caton, III.

Benjamin D. Caton, III, has a long and distinguished record of service in Tennessee (at the state and local level), the MTNA Southern Division, and the MTNA Board of Directors. His time on the MTNA Board of Directors spanned 10 years during which time he served as MTNA Southern Division president, MTNA secretary/treasurer, MTNA president-elect, MTNA president, and MTNA immediate past president. His service to TMTA included recording secretary, Collegiate Auditions chair and president. He served two terms as member of the Music Advisory Panel for the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Ben earned the BSME from East Tennessee State University, the MA and PhD from Ohio State University and the Pedagogy/Musicianship Certificate from the Kodály Musical Training Institute. He has taught all levels from first grade to graduate courses. At ETSU, he taught for seven years at the University School while teaching also teaching at the graduate level. His articles have appeared in American Music Teacher, Clavier, Music Educators Journal and The Tennessee Musician.

Special awards and honors include being named the first recipient of the TMTA Distinguished Service Award (2004). In 2014, ETSU conferred upon him the Distinguished Faculty Award in Service, and in 2017, MTNA named him the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. He was presented Teacher of the year by the Tennessee MTA in May of 2020. Other honors include being named an MTNA FOUNDATION Fellow, the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs Foundation for the Advancement of Music Award for Excellence, and the John Phillip Sousa Award (while playing trombone in high school band).

MTNA Distinguished Service Award
Jeanne Grealish

The MTNA Distinguished Service Award recognizes MTNA leaders who have provided significant and lasting volunteer service to the national association. The recipient of the 2021 MTNA Distinguished Service Award is Jeanne Grealish.

Jeanne Grealish, NCTM, mezzo soprano and voice teacher, maintains a private studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was named 2001 Teacher of the Year by the Professional Music Teachers of New Mexico. Since 1996, she has served as executive secretary-treasurer for PMTNM. She has been a member of the MTNA Foundation Fund Development committee and was honored as an MTNA Foundation Fellow. Currently she is national coordinator for the MTNA Young Artist Performance Competitions and previously was Southwest Division Junior coordinator.

Jeanne received a BA degree in voice and music education from Meredith College and both a master's degree and an artist diploma in voice from the New England Conservatory. She studied at the Vienna Academy of Music and the Performing Arts and at the Vienna State Opera for five years.

As a singer, Jeanne was noted for her appearances in the works of Mahler and Wagner. She also received international acclaim for her oratorio and operatic performances as well as her solo recitals. She toured nationally and internationally with pianist Jane Snow.

Among the awards she has received are the Frank Huntington Beebe Award, the Schoen-Rene Opera Prize, a Fulbright Fellowship in Musicology to study the vocal music of Mahler and a Rockefeller Award for performance.

Jeanne has taught at the University of New Mexico and conducted master classes at colleges and universities across the country. She also served as coordinator of grants and tours for the New Mexico Symphony and was a co-founder of Opera Unlimited, an educational outreach program for children.

Frances Clark Keyboard Pedagogy Award
Susanna Garcia, NCTM and Chan Kiat Lim, NCTM

eNovativePiano is a multimedia online curriculum for piano instruction. It teaches functional keyboard skills at the pre-collegiate and collegiate levels with multimedia resources adaptable for group instruction, individual lessons and online teaching. The developers are Susanna Garcia and Chan Kiat Lim.

Susanna Garcia, NCTM, holds MM and DMA degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and a BM degree from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She is professor of music at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where she has taught since 1990. Susie holds the Ruth Stodghill Girard Regents Endowed Professorship in Music and in 2001 was named a University of Louisiana Distinguished Professor. In 2012, she was honored as an MTNA FOUNDATION Fellow, and in 2013 she received the Outstanding Teacher Award from the Louisiana MTA. Her work in developing eNovativePiano was recognized with the 2015 “Research Excellence Award” for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette College of the Arts and in the 2019 Piano Magazine article “Piano Pedagogy’s Towers of Technology.” Susie has served on the executive committee of the National Group Piano/Piano Pedagogy Forum (GP3), the MTNA Certification Commission and the MTNA e-Journal editorial committee. Susie has performed concerts across the United States and in Canada, Mexico, Italy, and Ghana. She performs with William Chapman Nyaho as the Nyaho/Garcia Duo.

Chan Kiat Lim is associate professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he is the Margaret Chauvin Steen Villemez Professor in Music. In 2015, Chan Kiat was awarded the Louisiana Music Teachers Association Outstanding Teacher Award. In the same year, he received the Distinguished Professor Award from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He teaches piano performance, keyboard literature, class piano, and he lectures in the Interdisciplinary Humanities Program and Study Abroad Program in Florence, Italy. In 2020, he was honored as an MTNA FOUNDATION Fellow. His students have captured top prizes and awards at regional, national and international piano competitions. Chan Kiat was a member of the 2016 MTNA National Conference Planning committee and the nominating committee. Currently, he is the MTNA’s webinar coordinator and serves as the vice president of LMTA. Chan Kiat received music certifications in piano, violin, and theory from the ABRSM and the Trinity College of Music, London. He holds a BM degree from West Virginia University and MM and PhD degrees from the University of Cincinnati.

State Affiliate of the Year
Georgia Music Teachers Association
Jan Adams, president

The Georgia Music Teachers Association continues to provide programs and services to support its members. Created as a new event in 2020, the association introduced Pedagogy Saturdays to reach out to sections of the state that do not have easy access to local meetings. In March, due to the health pandemic, GMTA started the process of moving all competitions to an online format. Because many members were unfamiliar with recording videos, teaching online and the uploading process, detailed instructions were created to make sure each teacher would be successful. GMTA had an above average number of participants in the Spring Auditions Competitions. The online guidelines have been adapted to meet local events across the state and shared with other state associations to support their efforts of hosting online competitions. In November, GMTA held successful online MTNA Competitions with an increase in the number of participating students. The state conference transitioned to a virtual conference offering both “Live” and “Recorded” sessions. The conference represented each part of what would normally be offered if it were held in-person. Raffles were held to support the MTNA Foundation and GMTA Awards Funds. Donations were accepted as e-gift cards. Members donated through the GMTA website and e-gift cards were easily emailed to winners. Despite the challenges of 2020, GMTA looks forward to 2021 and the continued success of MTNA.

Local Association of the Year
Las Vegas Music Teachers Association
Amy Smith, president

The Las Vegas Music Teachers Association provides many opportunities for its teachers and their students to perform and grow musically. LVMTA has responded with enthusiasm and creativity to the challenges of Covid 19. Each year, they provide numerous events that further the mission of the organization, including Musicianship Exams; the Legacy Competition; Ensemble Festival; Jazz, Ragtime and Blues Festival; Opening and Closing Socials; an LVMTA Teacher Recital and a Play-a-thon. These activities not only support the members and their students, but the community as a whole.

MTNA Collegiate Chapter of the Year
Ohio University Collegiate Chapter of MTNA
Lydia Sander, president
Christopher Fisher, Chapter advisor

The Ohio University Collegiate Chapter of MTNA continues to be very active in the realms of music pedagogy and community engagement. Last academic year, the chapter designed and orchestrated a kids’ concert club, named “Concert Cats”. The goal of this program was to provide more accessible and enriching university concert experiences for kids and families in the Athens, Ohio region. The chapter’s dedicated community engagement efforts, we recognized with the Ohio University Edwin L. Kennedy Leadership Award for Outstanding Community Service (organization) during the spring of 2020. The chapter continues to strengthen its connection with the Athens community by producing two virtual ensemble opportunities. The first allows community members to play with our chapter members through a virtual piano ensemble. The second ensemble project aims to nurture greater sense of place for Athens residents. The chapter is working to commission a local composer and poet to create an original piano ensemble tone poem that they will perform and release virtually during the spring of 2021.

American Music Teacher Article of the Year
“The Victory Vertical Project: A Historical Case Study in Recreational Music Making”
by Garik Pedersen

The American Music Teacher Article of the Year award is presented to the outstanding author or authors of a feature article written expressly for AMT. The author receives a cash award of $1,000, which is made possible by the MTNA Foundation Fund. This year’s recipient is Garik Pedersen forhis article “The Victory Vertical Project: A Historical Case Study in Recreational Music Making,” published in the October/November 2020 issue of AMT. Garik Pedersen is professor emeritus of piano at Eastern Michigan University. During his 40-plus year academic career, he taught undergraduate and graduate students from the U.S. and many other countries, producing prizewinners in national and international—as well as regional and state--competitions. In 2018, he launched The Victory Vertical Project, a touring multi-media performance venture that takes its name from pianos built for the US military during World War II. The VVP has been presented to audiences throughout the United States in concert halls, churches, and museums as well as schools, retirement centers, hospitals and military bases. A student of Wesley True at the University of Central Missouri, which named him its Distinguished Alumnus in Music in 2010, Gary was the final DMA piano student of John Simms at the University of Iowa, graduating in 1986. Gary is a past president of Michigan Music Teachers Association, which honored him with its Distinguished Service Award in 2016. He received the Michigan Touchstone Award in 2017 in recognition of his “commitment to Michigan’s artistic excellence and his advocacy for the arts.”

MTNA e-Journal Article of the Year
“The Inclusive Studio: Teaching Students with Disabilities in the Private Piano and String Lesson Settings” by Diana Dumlavwalla, NCTM, and Katarzyna Bugaj

The MTNA e-Journal Article of the Year award is presented to the outstanding author of a feature article written expressly for the MTNA e-Journal. The author receives a cash award of $1,000, made possible by the MTNA Foundation Fund. The 2021 MTNA e-Journal Article of the Year award is presented to Diana Dumlavwalla, NCTM, and Katarzyna Bugaj for their article “The Inclusive Studio: Teaching Students with Disabilities in the Private Piano and String Lesson Settings,” published in the February 2020 issue of the MTNA e-Journal.

Diana Dumlavwalla, NCTM, is an assistant professor of piano pedagogy at Florida State University. Previously, Diana taught at Western University where she developed the faculty’s inaugural doctoral piano pedagogy course. She was also on faculty at the University of Windsor, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Toronto. She is a member of the Royal Conservatory’s College of Examiners and adjudicates at local, regional and state competitions. Prior to her move to Tallahassee, Diana maintained a private studio in Ontario, Canada, for more than 10 years. Diana was a member of the planning committee for the 2019 MTNA National Conference and has presented at MTNA conferences since 2017. She was the recipient of the 2018 MTNA e-Journal Article of the Year Award, and her work also has been published in American Music Teacher. She currently serves as the president-elect for the Florida State Music Teachers Association.

Katarzyna (Kasia) Bugaj is an associate professor of music education at Florida State University. Kasia formerly was the director of the Attica Violin Project, a curricular elementary school violin program in Attica, Indiana. She was also the assistant director of the Fairview and Highland Park string programs and was on the faculty of the Indiana University String Academy. Kasia was adjunct faculty at Valparaiso University, a member of the viola section with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and also played with the Grand Rapids and Louisville Symphony Orchestras. Kasia received a PhD in music education from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She also holds degrees from Western Michigan University, the Peabody Conservatory and is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy. In 2018–2019 she was a Fulbright Scholar at the Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, Poland. Kasia is a member of the national board of the American String Teachers Association, as well as the Florida Orchestra Association. She was named 2018 Collegiate Educator of the Year by the Florida Music Education Association.

MarySue Harris Studio Teacher Fellowship Award
Desireé González-Miller, NCTM

The MarySue Harris Studio Teacher Fellowship is a $3,000 award, funded by the MarySue Harris Endowment. It is designed to assist a music teacher with establishing, developing and enhancing their studio. Desireé González-Miller holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brigham Young University and a DMA degree from the University of Utah. Desireé has served on the BYU piano faculty as a visiting assistant professor of piano. While there, she served as pianist for the Sundance Trio. She maintains an active schedule maintaining a private studio, coordinating the U Piano Outreach Program, and as an associate instructor at the preparatory division at the University of Utah. She received the Reid Nibley Scholar award twice while studying at Brigham Young University (BYU). In 2014, she was given the Student Teacher of the Year Award by the Utah Music Teachers’ Association, and the following year, she won the Janet Mann Teaching Excellence Award at the University of Utah. Desireé served as the BYU Collegiate Chapter president and was a member of the 2015 MTNA National Conference Planning committee. She served on the planning committee for the 2015–2017 MTNA Collegiate Chapters Piano Pedagogy Symposiums and she is a current member of the MTNA Nominating committee.

Piano Technicians Guild Foundation Scholarship
Roxanne Kar, NCTM

MTNA is privileged to work with the Piano Technicians Guild on a variety of projects. Through the generosity of the Piano Technicians Guild Foundation, a Teacher Continuing Education scholarship has been established to recognize outstanding MTNA certified teachers. The recipient of the $750 PTG Foundation Scholarship is Roxanne Kar. Roxanne Kar, NCTM, operates an independent piano studio in Edmonds, Washington. began teaching her first student at age 16. As a young adult Roxanne's primary area of study was in general music education, although her true passions are performance and piano pedagogy. Her devotion to the study of healthy technique and emotive playing was deeply ingrained by her Russian teachers that were trained in conservatories of music in the Ukraine and Russia. As a mother of 4 children (2 with special needs and 2 adopted from foster care) Roxanne has expanded her expertise to teaching the Russian method of technique and artistry while integrating best teaching practices. Utilizing multiple modalities in her studio she teaches neuro-typical and twice exceptional children as well children with special needs such as autism, ADD/ADHD and unspecified learning disabilities. Roxanne is an active member of the Edmonds Music Teachers Association, holding many positions within the chapter; currently she leads and organizes the Edmonds Musicianship Festival. In 2014 she was awarded the Member of the Year Award from the Edmonds MTA.