Nova Scotia Music Educators' Association
Nova Scotia Music Educators' Association. Formed 22 Oct 1960 after a meeting at East Hants Rural High School (East Hants district, near Truro) of 52 school music teachers. The decision to organize had strong encouragement from the CMEA, which had been pressing for the establishment of professional associations in all the provinces.
The CMEA convention of 1963, to which the NSMEA played host in Halifax, helped to persuade the Nova Scotia Dept of Education, the province's school boards, and the public at large of the growing importance of music education in the general school program. The NSMEA added its voice to that of Home and School Associations, school inspectors, and others to persuade the Dept of Education to appoint a provincial music director. Peter Hinkley was named to this post in 1963. The title subsequently was changed to music consultant. In 1968 the NSMEA became the first provincial organization of its kind to affiliate with the CMEA.
Through the co-operation of Paul Murray, appointed provincial music consultant in 1967, the NSMEA annual conference grew from a one-day gathering of local specialists and novice teachers to a three-day meeting featuring clinicians from Canada, the USA, and Britain. By 1991 NSMEA membership had reached over 350.
In February 1980 the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra premiered Terrence Hill's Variations on an Idea for Orchestra, commissioned by the NSMEA through a grant from the province's Dept of Recreation and Cultural Affairs. The association has continued to commission, on a rotating basis, works for chorus, band, and orchestra. A young composers' competition for high school students was begun in the International Year of Canadian Music (1986). NSMEA presidents have been Catherine Allison 1959-61, Vernon Ellis 1961-3, Shirley Blakeley 1963-5, Vivian Brand 1965-7, Edith Rowlings 1967-9, Wilf Harvey 1969-70, Chalmers Doane 1970-2, Don Hill 1972-4, Frances Tyrrell 1974-6, Terrence Hurrell 1976-8, Sister Rita Clare 1978-80, Paul Maynard 1980-2, Ninette Babineau 1982-4, Ray Grant 1984-6, David Pos 1986-7, and Donna Hargreaves 1987-9, succeeded by Beth Layer in 1989. The Catherine Allison Scholarship (after 1986 the Catherine Allison Memorial Scholarship), established in 1963 in honour of the first president, is awarded annually.to one or two university students in music education. The NSMEA has offered scholarships for summer students and for the young artists program of the Scotia Festival. In 1990 it instituted a professional development bursary and a scholarship to the Institute of Choral Arts for its members. In 1960 the NSMEA began to publish a quarterly newsletter. By 1981 this was called NSMEA Notes, published (three times yearly beginning in 1989) by the Nova Scotia Teachers' Union. In 1991 NSMEA formed the Music Education Advocacy Task Force for Nova Scotia (MEAN) to provide support and information to its members, music educators, and administrators across the province.