The CMEA was formed in Toronto at the April 1959 convention of the OMEA. The spade-work for the association is attributed to several Canadians who met under the chairmanship of Leslie Bell while attending the 1957 Music Educators' National Conference in Atlantic City. Forty delegates from nine provinces attended the 1959 inauguration and elected G. Roy Fenwick president. The first executive committee comprised Fenwick, an executive director (Leslie Bell), a secretary-treasurer (Keith Bissell), and three regional representatives (Richard Johnston, Lloyd Slind, and David Thomson). Fees from the 69 charter members, a contribution from the Canadian Bureau for the Advancement of Music, and a gift of the profits from the International Festival held in Montreal in 1950 gave the new organization a healthy financial base. Formal incorporation as a professional association took place in 1972, and in 1990 there were 2,494 individual memberships. The Alberta MEA disbanded in 1969 and, although the province remained non-affiliated and without a provincial MEA, in 1990 the CMEA was working with the Alberta Fine Arts Association to represent provincial interests. By 1981 the Manitoba and Ontario MEAs had become affiliated and the BCMEA remained the only non-affiliate provincial MEA, although it was an active participant in the national association.
The CMEA's chief aim - unifying and informing Canada's musicians and music educators - has been carried out mainly through publications and conventions. Its quarterly, the Canadian Music Educator, began in June 1959. The CMEA also published papers of the Melbourne, Australia 12th International Research Seminar in Music Education (CME, vol 30, May 1988, special supplement) and, in 1990, continued to publish such proceedings in its role as official Canadian representative to ISME. The Newsletter, begun in 1968 and originally published separately, has appeared, beginning with the November 1988 issue (vol 29) under the masthead of the CME. From 1968-86, CMEA had its Resource Centre in St Catharines, Ont, under the direction of Wallace Laughton (b Vancouver 17 Nov 1914, d Niagara-on-the-Lake 16 Jan 2002), who was also the first editor of the Newsletter. The Resource Centre provided members with reprints of articles, general information and reference services, and materials for non-commercial displays for conventions and workshops. During the mid-1970s a publications committee was formed to evaluate and select outstanding Canadian monographs on music education, to prepare lists of these, and occasionally to circulate copies of both among the membership. In 1990, CMEA was preparing a series of monographs, the first issue to be distributed at its 1991 conference in Vancouver.
In 1987 the CMEA embarked on a cassette recording project under the artistic direction of Paul Freeman, conductor emeritus of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. Some of the performers featured in the three-volume (1987, 1988, 1989) Canadian Artists Series were Ofra Harnoy, James Campbell, Liona Boyd, Glenn Gould and Anton Kuerti, Mark Pedrotti, Eugene Dowling, the Wilson-McAllister Guitar Duo, the Canadian Brass, and the Orford String Quartet. A booklet on listening techniques was prepared for the series by editor Diana Brault and writers Elaine Mason and Glen Wood.
Biennial national conventions have been held in Calgary, Charlottetown, Edmonton, Halifax, Kingston, London, Montreal, Ottawa, Regina, Sackville, Saskatoon, Vancouver, and Winnipeg. Two commissioned works were premiered at the CMEA 1967 convention - Fleming's Four Fantasias on Canadian Folk Themes and Ridout's When Age and Youth Unite. Guest speakers, from the fields of education, publishing, and the media have included N. Scarth of the University of British Columbia (1962), Laurier La Pierre (1985), and Silver Donald Cameron (1989); and from MENC Louis Wersen (1967), Charles Leonhard (1969, 1971), and Mary Hoffman (1989). A joint CMEA-Queen's University workshop on Evaluation (chairman Duane Bates) was held in February 1990. The conferences have regularly featured clinics and performances. The Leslie Bell Memorial Choir Competition was initiated by the CMEA and the CBC in 1963, and the first Leslie Bell Trophy and a cash prize were awarded in 1964 and have been presented at each subsequent convention to a choral group from the host province. In 1989, CMEA began to expand and revise its performance awards criteria based on taped submissions. These awards honour the following educators and categories: The Christopher Gledhill Award (orchestra), the Robert Rosevear Award (concert band), the Don Wright Award (vocal or instrumental jazz ensemble), the Leslie Bell Award (choir), the Wilfrid Harvey Award (vocal or instrumental small ensemble), and the Catherine Allison Award - a special honour presented at the discretion of the selection committee. The Jubilate Award honours those who make a significant contribution to music education in Canada; the first two recipients were Helen Creighton (1989) and Paul Freeman (1990).
The CMEA has been responsible for the formation of the Canadian String Teachers' Association (1965), the Canadian Music Research Council (1973), and the Music Teacher Education Council (1973). The John Adaskin Project has been a joint CMEA/Canadian Music Centre venture, and together the two organizations also published Patricia Shand's Canadian Music: A Selective Guidelist for Teachers (Toronto 1978).
The CMEA is a member organization of the CCA, the Canadian Educators' Association and in 1989 became the official Canadian representative to ISME. Its presidents have included G. Roy Fenwick 1959-60, Gifford Mitchell 1960-2, Lloyd Slind 1962-3, Lola MacQuarrie 1963-5, Garfield Bender 1965-7, Frank Churchley 1967-9, Vernon Ellis 1969-71, Allen Clingman 1971-3, Kenneth Bray 1973-7, Paul Murray 1977-9, Winnifred Voigts 1979-81, Dennis Humenick 1981-3, Brenda Trafford 1983-5, and Paul Maynard 1985-9, succeeded by Joan Therens.
Author Margery M. Vaughan, Diana Brault
'The music education structure in Canada,' Mcan, 6, Nov 1967
Links to Other Sites
Royal Conservatory of Music
This extensive website for the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Glenn Gould Professional School features a detailed guide to classes, concerts, the RCM examinations and more. Check out "Our Building" for details about their performance venues.
The Virtual Gramophone
An extensive multimedia database that covers the history of recorded music in Canada. Search the site for musician biographies and notes about the early years of sound recording, online audio clips of recordings, podcasts on specific themes, videos, and more. From Library and Archives Canada.
Coalition of Music Education in Canada
This organization promotes music education in the school system. Features resources for music educators.
Music Education Online
Music Education Online links music education associations across Canada.
The Institute for Canadian Music
Features full text articles about music education and noteworthy people and events in Canadian music. Also offers an extensive collection of music links. From the University of Toronto.