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digbybell.jpg Digby Bell, NCTM, of Shawnee, Oklahoma, has been teaching pianists at Oklahoma University for more than half a century. An MTNA member for more than forty years, he has been involved in Oklahoma Music Teachers Association (OMTA) and MTNA in many capacities, including member of the MTNA Executive Board, MTNA secretary, MTNA South Central Division president and OMTA president and treasurer.

Janie Green, NCTM, taught piano for 47 years. A twenty-six year member of MTNA, Green participated in many facets on the national level as an Executive Board member, the West Central Division Baldwin Junior High Performance chair and the Southen Division member-at-large. She acted as past president and Foundation chair for the North Dakota MTA and president of the Greater Grand Forks MTA, North Dakota. While residing in Tennessee, Green served as Tennessee MTA president, president of Middle Tennessee MTA and president-elect of the Nashville Area MTA. Green primarily taught as an independent teacher during her career; however, she also spent time as an adjunct instructor of piano at Belmont College and a co-teacher of preschool music classes with the Mini-Music Makers.

A long-time member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers, the National Federation of Music Clubs and the Nashville Music and Arts Teachers Guild, Green was recognized by the National Guild's Hall of Fame, the Inernational Who's Who of Music, Who's Who of American Women and Who's Who in the South and Southwest. In 1999, Green was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from NDMTA. In addition, three awards has been named in her memory: The Janie Green Guild Awards from the Fargo-Moorhead Guild Association, the Tennessee MTA Janie Green Scholarsip and the William Jewell College Janie Green Music Scholarship for Piano Students.


A highly successful professor, performer, pedagogue, arranger and workshop leader, James Lyke has had a significant impact on the music world in the past forty-two years, especially in the area of piano pedagogy. During his thirty-three years at the University of Illinois (1959–1993), Lyke designed and expanded the group piano program to include elementary, intermediate and advanced levels. In addition, he added group classes in jazz piano. In 1980, he established a master of music degree in piano pedagogy. At Illinois, he supervised teaching assistants in group piano for children and adults and served as headmaster of Illinois Summer Youth Music Piano Camps for junior high and high school students.

In 1993, Lyke left the University of Illinois to accept a similar position at Georgia State University in Atlanta as director of graduate studies in music. A year later, he received the Elderhostel Teacher Award for continuing education and public service from the University of Illinois. In addition to his collegiate work, Lyke has conducted numerous workshops for piano teachers throughout the United States and in Austria, Switzerland, France, Australia, South Korea and Cyprus. A thirty-six-year MTNA member, Lyke served as MTNA national group piano chairman from 1971–1975 and president of Illinois State Music Teachers Association from 1978–1982. He also is former associate director of The National Conference on Piano Pedagogy.

Lyke retired from this position in December 1999 and moved to New York City, where he continues his work with publishing and teacher workshops and enjoys cultural attractions, especially musical theater and cabaret.


For the past twenty years, Anna McGrosso, now retired, has been a member of MTNA and Illinois State Music Teachers Association. She has served as adjunct piano professor at The University of Texas at Austin; Illinois Wesleyan University; University of Denver; University of Illinois; and Illinois State University. For many years, McGrosso also taught privately in her studio in Bloomington, Illinois.

Her inspiration led many of McGrosso's students to follow in her footsteps, teaching privately and at universities nationwide, including California, New Hampshire, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin. "Anna's teaching was incredibly alive with instructions on how to listen for clarity and style, character and logic," says former student Christine Kefferstan. "Anna taught with her whole body and being, singing at the top of her voice, dancing across the room, and loving every minute of it. I remember leaving lessons feeling super-charged with her energy and her love of music.

"For all these years, Anna has been my barometer," adds Kefferstan. "If my playing was not true to myself, she could tell in an instant. Her musical instincts worked hand in hand with her gifts for reading people and speaking the truth. Anna demanded from all of us exactly what she demanded of herself, and that was no less than the best. She encouraged us to take flight—musically and in our own lives."

loranolsen.jpg Loran Olsen, NCTM, of Port Angeles, Washington, is a twenty-seven-year MTNA member. He served as professor of music at Washington State University (WSU) for twenty-eight years, where he taught piano, composition, theory and Native American music, retiring in 1992. He holds degrees from Grinnell, Drake and the University of Iowa. Olsen taught on the faculties of Luther College, Wisconsin, State University-Whitewater and Hastings College. Olsen has done extensive work with Native American music.

The late Helen Ramsdell had a tremendous impact on the musical community in Middletown, Ohio. She was a model independent music teacher who devoted her life to nurturing and inspiring young vocalists and cultivating the arts in her community. Ramsdell taught private voice lessons in her Middletown home for more than seventy years, served as a music instructor at Miami University in Middletown for ten years, and was instrumental in establishing Middletown's Sorg Opera Company.

A well-known performer in her younger days, Ramsdell earned her master's degree in music from the College of Music in Cincinnati, now known as the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. During this time, she concertized in Europe and often performed with Frank Simon and the nationally acclaimed ARMCO Band. She also made frequent appearances on WLW radio and performed with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

In 1931, Ramsdell began teaching students privately in her home. Her students span many generations, and some have gone on to careers in the music profession. Her students include Phyllis McGuire of the McGuire Sisters; Robert Burkhart, a professional vocalist in New York; and Shirley Raut, former MTNA executive director.

Ramsdell was the recipient of the Stuart Ives Memorial Award from the YMCA for service to youth in 1995, and she was the first recipient of the "Women of Distinction Award" from Soroptimists International in Middletown. Ramsdell was also a member of Mu Phi Epsilon and the National Federation of Music Clubs.

joanreist.jpg The late Joan M. Reist, NCTM, was associate professor emerita at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Music. She served on the American Pianists Association's classical artistic committee and as district director for Mu Phi Epsilon. She was a past president of MTNA.
normaseifert.jpg Norma Seifert, NCTM, of Collierville, Tennessee, has taught private and group piano lessons for forty years. Although presently retired from teaching, Seifert currently serves as president of the Tennessee Music Teachers Association. Seifert has been an active MTNA member for forty-three years and also has served as West Central Division president, Des Moines Music Teachers Association president and Iowa Music Teachers Association president.

For thirty years, Dorothy Sutton was an active MTNA member, a vital part of the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association (PMTA) and a charter member of the local Ches-Mont Music Teachers Association in the Pottstown/Boyertown, Pennsylvania, area. She was known in her community for beginning an annual noncompetitive music festival, providing "average" music students the opportunity to perform for their peers at a local college or university. The Dorothy Sutton Performance Festival continues today, seven years after Sutton's death, with almost 1,000 Pennsylvania students participating at the local level.

"Dorothy's presence was a motivating influence in the musical community of Pottstown, where, aside from her affiliation with the Ches-Mont Music Teachers, she also sat for many years on the Board of the Pottstown Symphony Orchestra Association and was the chairperson for their annual Young Artist Competition," wrote Mary Soper, a close friend of Sutton and an MTNA member in Boyertown, in the August 1994 PMTA Newsletter.

"Those who knew Miss Sutton will vouch for her dedication to her chosen profession," Soper added. "Her ideas sprang from a purpose to elevate the teaching of music at the independent level and its accompanying student involvement. Personally, I can attest to her interest and devotion to her own students. She nurtured many through their 'troubled times' all the while enkindling their musical growth."

rexwhiddon.jpg L. Rexford Whiddon, NCTM, of Columbus, Georgia, recently retired from his position as chair of the Schwob Department of Music at Columbus State University (CSU) in Columbus, Georgia. He currently serves as director of major gifts for the CSU Foundation. A thirty-year MTNA member and past president, Whiddon also has served as president of the MTNA Foundation, the MTNA Southern Division and Georgia Music Teachers Association. Additionally, he has served as MTNA national membership chair, MTNA treasurer and MTNA vice president for conventions.