The Alberta Band Association annually presents three awards, two of which are awarded to recipients who are nominated by our membership.
Elkhorn Band Director of the Year Award | Keith Mann Young Band Director Award
Vondis Miller Legacy Award | ABA Award of Distinction | Honourary Lifetime Member Award
2017 Elkhorn Band Director
2017 Vondis Miller Legacy Award
[l to r] Chee Meng Low; recipient Kathie Van Lare (Calgary);
2017 Keith Mann
2017 ABA Award of Distinction
[l to r] Chee Meng Low; recipient Russ Chevalier (Edmonton);
Elkhorn Band Director of the Year Award Recipients
The Elkhorn Award recipient is chosen by former Elkhorn winners. Nominations are accepted annually and should be accompanied by supporting documentation. All three Awards are presented at the MCA Awards Banquet.
|2002||Roberta Baril | Patricia MacFarlane | Ken Rogers|
|2009||Steve Sherman | Cecilia Grimstead|
|2011||Jayne Montgomery | Martin Kennedy|
|2012||Richard Condon | Kathy Van Lare|
|2013||Tom Saumer (posthumous)|
|2015||Bob Bailey (Camrose)|
|2016||Clarence Samuelson (Devon)|
|2017||Brent Pierce (Calgary)|
Keith Mann Young Band Director Award Recipients
The Keith Mann Award is presented annually to an outstanding new band director with fewer than 6 years’ teaching experience in the province of Alberta. Created to honour the memory of Keith Mann, the recipient will demonstrate Keith’s enthusiasm and dedication to band music.
|2003||Karen Tang||Peace River|
|2006||Erin Bodnar||Red Deer|
|2017||Ellie Anderson||Spruce Grove|
Vondis Miller Legacy Award Recipients
The Vondis Miller Legacy Award, which was created in memory of Vondis Miller, is a long-service award recognizing an individual who has devoted many years to sharing the joys of music-making with young people.
|2007||Bill Wahl||Medicine Hat|
|2008||Mike Townsend||Grande Prairie|
|2014||Val Sherman||Red Deer|
|2017||Kathie Van Lare||Calgary|
ABA Award of Distinction
|2015||Neil Corlett||Red Deer|
|2016||Joyce Howdle||Red Deer|
ABA Honourary Lifetime Member Award
Yearly, in recognition of their lifelong commitment for wind band and music in the Province of Alberta and Canada, the ABA selects a few individuals to name as honorary lifetime members of the Alberta Band Association.
2015 RECIPIENT: Mr. Francis Edward Dunnigan
2017 RECIPIENTS: Mike Achtymichuk | Michael Eddy | Barry Valleau | Bill Wahl
Mike Achtymichuk did not pursue music as a career, but rather as a diversion and a form of relaxation. As a young man, he developed an interest in music and formed a local dance band with his brothers. He pursued more formal musical training at the Navy Music School in Victoria, BC, then later after three summers of study in the Alberta Band Directors Training Course he graduated with a Community Band Director’s Certificate. His life as a band director began in 1953 in Waskatenau, AB, where he founded and directed the community concert band. In 1966, he and his family moved to Lacombe where he founded the Lacombe Lions Community Band. He was one of the founding members of the Central Alberta Band Directors Association in 1951, and this organization grew into the Alberta chapter of the Canadian Band Association and later became the Alberta Band Association as we know it today. He was also responsible for the formation of several provincial band festivals, including the Alberta Band Association Festival of Bands and he was the founding president of Phi Beta Mu in 1978 and has served on the executive continuously since that time. He is now retired and living in Red Deer, but music still remains a strong focus in his life and he is still an enthusiastic supporter of band education.
Michael Eddy earned a Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition from the University of Western Ontario and an Associate in Piano Performance and then in 1974 started teaching music in Kitimat, BC, and then taught in Ft. McMurray for twenty-two years. Mike has previously served as a board member and vice-president on the Alberta Band Association. His Concert and Stage Bands maintained consistently high standards. His Senior Concert Band received the "Most Outstanding Band" at the ABA Festival of Bands and Superior and first place standings at international festivals. He spent three summers as a conductor and instructor at Musicamrose. He twice received Alberta's "Excellence in Teaching" award, the most recent being one of the twenty provincial awards. In 1998 he was Alberta’s Band Director of the Year. In 1984 he was chosen Citizen of the Year, Kitimat, BC and in 2000 he was chosen as Distinguished Citizen of the Year for Fort McMurray.
Barry Valleau is a retired school band teacher living in Didsbury, AB with his wife Carol. He began his musical career completing six years in the Canadian Military bands before attending the University of Calgary to obtain his B.Ed with a music major. His first eleven years were in Sexsmith, AB and he finished his twenty-seven year career in the Didsbury area. Through the years, Valleau's bands did very well at the local, provincial and national levels with Valleaureceiving numerous personal awards including the Tommy Banks, the John Phillip Souza, the Band Director of the Year (The Elkhorn Award) and the Outstanding Director Award from the CBA (Canadian Band Association). Since his retirement in 2000, he is kept very busy as a clinician for band camps and adjudicating at festivals. Barry and Carol spend three months each winter in Mexico where they take music instruments (donated by colleagues throughout the province) to the Puerto Vallarta Junior Orchestra School. To date (with the help of friends and family as 'mules') they have taken thirty-six brass and woodwind instruments. Mr. Valleau plays trumpet with the Puerto Vallarta Orchestra while in Mexico.
Bill Wahl is a fourth generation Band Conductor. He is a graduate of the MELAB program (Music Education Laboratory) of the University of Alberta, has a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Oregon, and a Diploma of Fine Arts in Advanced Wind Band Conducting from the University of Calgary. He is a member of the Alberta Band Association, and the Phi Beta Alpha chapter of the International Music Fraternity Phi Beta Mu. The Alberta Band Association has recognized Bill as one of Alberta's Most Outstanding Band Directors, and Phi Beta Mu has presented him with the David Peterkin Award for Outstanding Service to Band Music. He has also been nominated twice for recognition through Alberta Learning and has most recently been given the Vondis Miller Legacy Award by the Alberta Band Association and a Paul Harris Fellowship from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. Bill has been guest conductor and clinician at numerous band camps, and over the years has been a mentor to education practicum students from the University of Lethbridge and the University of Saskatchewan. In 2006, he was conductor of the Central Ontario Honour Band hosted at Wilfred Laurier University. In 2007 and 2009 he was a Resident Conductor of the Peterkin Ensembles of MusiCamp Alberta. Bill has been very involved with the Alberta Band Association Festival of Bands and the Alberta Adult Band Workshop program.