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Bachelor of music education turns the big 3-0

By Heidi Wicks

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the very first graduates of the conjoint Bachelor of Music and Education program at Memorial.

Dr. Andrea Rose graduated in 1979 and has been involved with Memorial ever since. She’s a professor with the Faculties of Music and Education, and said that it’s been a pleasure watching the university evolve for the past three decades.
“There are so many ensembles now, compared to then,” she chuckled, recalling that with just five students in the program, there wasn’t much chance to blow the roof off a concert hall, like now.

“The school was founded to train and prepare professional music teachers for the province. So for the first many years, the first people did the conjoint music and education degree. But the School of Music has developed with a music performance, history, composition majors. Now it’s grown to things like ethnomusicology. And the instruments has expanded to include guitar, voice, piano, and more.”

She added that although it has expanded so drastically, music education remains an important aspect of the School of Music. The first five graduates included Dr. Rose, Carl Golding, Glenda Abbott-Palmer, Rex Bowering and Karen Mills, who has since passed.

Both the Faculties of Music and Education now include graduate and doctoral programs as well as undergraduate.
“I don’t think anyone would argue that the music school here is the finest of its kind, certainly in Atlantic Canada,” Dr. Rose said. “For me personally it has been very rewarding being there at the beginning and then teaching here for 20 years. It’s been a fabulous opportunity, and of course other graduates of the program have traveled all over the world doing wild and wonderful things with their education.”

Dr. Donald F. Cook founded the School of Music in 1976 and felt it was important to note that the first music courses came through the Faculty of Education.

“I went to Memorial under no particular faculty in 1967 (after receiving his music degree from Mount Allison) and there were no music courses at all,” he said. “But George Hickman was the dean of education at the time, and while I was in the Faculty of Arts, I couldn’t get a course in music. So I went to George and suggested we get a course because all these teachers had to teach music, but didn’t know how. So that’s how the first music course came about, it was for primary teachers.”

Dr. Cook believes that the music program is the best thing to happen to music in Newfoundland.

“It provided an easily accessible opportunity for Newfoundlanders with musical talent to train themselves to become teachers in the school system. When I first came to Memorial, there were only two professional music teachers here. Now, having music teachers with that professional training has made a huge difference to this province.”