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Music teacher recognized with a provincial award

Caledonia music teacher Geoff Parr, left, accepts a secondary level BC Music Educator of the Year award from former student David Johnstone, now a music teacher himself in Fort Nelson. - CONTRIBUTED
Caledonia music teacher Geoff Parr, left, accepts a secondary level BC Music Educator of the Year award from former student David Johnstone, now a music teacher himself in Fort Nelson.
— image credit: CONTRIBUTED

THE TEACHER who has spent the past 24 years teaching music of all types at Caledonia Secondary School has been presented with the BC Music Educator of the Year Award for teaching at the secondary level.

Geoff Parr was honoured at an event sponsored by the B.C. Music Educators’ Association on the lower mainland.

Parr, who has spent 29 years as a teacher, teaches concert band, jazz band and choir at Cal and for the past 19 years has been the co-producer of the school’s annual musical.

David Johnstone, a former student of Parr’s and now a music teacher himself at a school in Fort Nelson, introduced Parr at the event.

“As many of us in the room are all too aware, boards of education are quick to place music and other arts on the chopping block when financial cuts need to be made to balance their budgets – Terrace has been no exception,” said Johnstone.

“Geoff has worked tirelessly as an advocate of music education in our school system, fighting to keep music specialists in the district and elementary band programs when they repeated tried to remove funding.”

“His work, alongside those of his colleagues and the support of the community has resulted in their continuing to be a strong music presence in all Terrace schools,” Johnstone said.

In addition to his school-based activities, Parr has been active in the Terrace Community Band and the Terrace Big Band.

He’s also had his students perform in the Pacific Northwest Music Festival every year and has organized annual band trips.

Parr has been on the board of the Pacific Coast Festival Association, the Pacific Northwest Music Festival and the Terrace and District Arts Council.

He also coordinated the Pacific Northwest Music Festival band workshop for eighteen years.

“He inspired, and challenged me to become a better musician by opening doors for me that I never knew existed,” said Johnstone in his introduction.

“I personally know many students besides myself who have pursued a career in music as a direct result of Geoff’s unwavering dedication to his students and his job.”

Parr received his Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia in  1982 and a Masters of Education from the University of Victoria in 2008.

“He has encouraged a lifelong love and appreciation of music and the arts in thousands of people in northern B.C. and I think of no one who is more deserving than him of this recognition,” said Johnstone of his mentor.

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