Dr. Douglas Dunsmore of Memorial University’s School of Music, a choral conductor of national and international renown, was honoured with the Arts Achievement Award from the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council in Gander recently.
“Dr. Dunsmore has been a major force in shaping choral music in Newfoundland and Labrador," said Dr. Ellen Waterman, director, School of Music. "Through his choirs, he has touched literally thousands of students at Memorial University.”
The founding artistic director of the widely acclaimed Festival 500: Sharing the Voices and a mainstay of national organizations such as the National Youth Choir, Dr. Dunsmore has been a member of the music faculty since 1979. He has repeatedly brought success to Memorial University choirs in national and international competitions and has performed as the conductor for the Newfoundland Symphony’s Orchestra’s Philharmonic Choir since 1996.
The NLAC Arts Achievement Award recognizes a practising artist who has made an outstanding contribution to the cultural life of Newfoundland and Labrador over a number of years. Nominations for the awards are submitted by the arts community, arts organizations and the general public. Members of the NLAC vote by secret ballot to select the finalists and winners. As this year’s winner, Dr. Dunsmore received a $2,000 cash prize and a piece of artwork.
In his acceptance speech, Dr. Dunsmore thanked his wife Grace and acknowledged friends and collaborators including singers, musicians, students, teachers, administrators and CBC radio and television producers.
“For anyone whose life has intersected with choirs, there is no doubt that the choral experience is all about collaboration and community building. The one sound we make is created by us all,” he said during the awards ceremony.
Anthony Payne is one of those student collaborators.
“Dr. Dunsmore brings a love of music to every rehearsal. Through his direction, choral music has become the most active component of my musical life, and it will be for the rest of my days,” said the third-year student, a double major in music and arts (statistics) who has been selected to attend the National Youth Choir. “When someone brings the world-class skills, positive attitude and love of music to rehearsal that he does on a daily basis, it is impossible to leave without a long-lasting inspiration to sing and learn.”