Jay Armin | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Jay Armin

Jay (James) Armin, teacher, violinist (born 11 January 1915 in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine; died 12 July 2008 in Toronto). BA (Manitoba) 1947, Associate in Music PAED (Western Ontario) 1953.

Jay Armin’s family, named Sawatsky during the period that it was in the Ukraine, emigrated to Canada in 1923 and settled in Manitoba, where he learned to play the violin in his late teens. He taught strings in high schools in Plum Coulee and Lowe Farm, Manitoba, and in Leamington, Windsor, Stratford and Toronto, Ontario. He was head of the music department at Stratford Central High School (1963–65) and Burnamthorpe Collegiate in Etobicoke, Ontario (1965–75).

In Leamington, Armin founded the Mennonite Male Voice Choir in 1948 and conducted it from 1950 to 1952. He was also principal and singing teacher at United Mennonite Educational Institute near Leamington. (See also Mennonites; Music of the Mennonites.) He was an administrator with the National Youth Orchestra in 1962 and 1963 and was president of the Canadian String Teachers Association from 1970 to 1973. In 1975, he became a string consultant for the North York Board of Education and an occasional teacher in Toronto schools. Among his pupils were his children, Otto, Paul, Richard and Adele, whom he coached as members of the Armin String Quartet, as well as George Willms and Larry Pohjola. Armin retired in 1980.