Alberta Band Association

ABA Awards

The Alberta Band Association annually presents three awards, two of which are awarded to recipients who are nominated by our membership.

Award Nomination Form

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 of the Year Award

2017 Elkhorn Band Director
of the Year Award

[l to r] Presenter Clarence Samuelson;
recipient Brent Pierce (Calgary)

2017 Vondis Miller Legacy Award

2017 Vondis Miller Legacy Award

[l to r] Chee Meng Low; recipient Kathie Van Lare (Calgary);
Kirk Wassmer

2017 Keith Mann Young Band Director Award

2017 Keith Mann
Young Band Director Award

[l to r] Recipient Ellie Anderson
(Spruce Grove);
presenter Michael Mann

2017 ABA Award of Distinction

2017 ABA Award of Distinction

[l to r] Chee Meng Low; recipient Russ Chevalier (Edmonton);
Kirk Wassmer

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.

1974 Keith Mann
1975 Ralph Kennard
1976 Mike Achtymichuk
1977 Lervae Cahoon
1978 Fordyce Pier
1979 Robert Eklund
1980 Vondis Miller
1981 John Leonard
1982 Dennis Prime
1983 Rick Benson
1984 Bill Wahl
1985 Jerry Pokarney
1986 Bob Brunelle
1987 Brian Appleby
1988 Tom Taylor
1989 Harry Pinchin
1990 Dennis Orr
1991 Barry Valleau
1992 Larry Schrum
1993 Mike Sakatch
1994 Rita Burns
1995 Maureen Chauvet
1996 Mike Townsend
1997 Francis Dunnigan
1998 Michael Eddy
1999 Lyle Dewan
2000 Mark Friesen
2001 Raymond Baril
2002 Roberta Baril | Patricia MacFarlane | Ken Rogers
2003 Kim Hastings
2004 Brian Thorlacius
2005 Rob Speers
2006 Kevin Willms
2007 Earl Paddock
2008 Roy Townend
2009 Steve Sherman | Cecilia Grimstead
2010 Tom Spila
2011 Jayne Montgomery | Martin Kennedy
2012 Richard Condon | Kathy Van Lare
2013 Tom Saumer (posthumous)
2014 Judy Wishloff
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.

2002 Heather Biggin Didsbury
2003 Karen Tang Peace River
2004 Corrina Cormier Morinville
2005 Jeff Hiley Calgary
2006 Erin Bodnar Red Deer
2007 Ryan Heseltine Lethbridge
2008 Marty Majorowicz Edmonton
2009 Travis Conrad Coaldale
2010 Sara Huisman Edmonton
2011 Rebecca Meltzer Calgary
2012 Samuel Yamamoto Magrath
2013 Lindsey Coulter Edmonton
2014 Jeff Bryant Edmonton
2015 Emily Ashcroft Nanton
2016 Brianne Gruber Okotoks
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.

2004 Tom Spila Camrose
2005 Doug Scales Lethbridge
2006 Arnold Pitcher Cardston
2007 Bill Wahl Medicine Hat
2008 Mike Townsend Grande Prairie
2009 Brian Thorlacius Calgary
2010 Rita Burns Edmonton
2011 Marlene Norquay Edmonton
2012 Earl Paddock Calgary
2013 Rob Speers Edmonton
2014 Val Sherman Red Deer
2015 Frank Dunnigan Edmonton
2016 Roy Townend Edmonton
2017 Kathie Van Lare  Calgary


ABA Award of Distinction

2015 Neil Corlett Red Deer
2016 Joyce Howdle Red Deer
2017 Russ Chevalier Edmonton

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.