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Acuff_Rachel.jpg Rachel Acuff, instructor of piano and oboe at Maryville College and faculty member of the Suzuki Piano School of Knoxville, holds a BM degree in oboe performance and an MM degree in collaborative piano from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Acuff has twice received Knoxville MTA’s Teacher of the Year award and was named Tennessee MTA’s 2001 Teacher of the Year. She has served as state IMTF chair since 2011 and has presented sessions at TMTA conferences. Her students have represented Tennessee at Southern Division in woodwind and piano areas and in master classes at Suzuki Association of the Americas conferences.

Cynthia Allor is a dedicated piano teacher who has been active in the Aurora Colorado MTA, and has served the Colorado State MTA board in several positions over the years. She joined AMTA in 1986. Allor attributes her love for teaching and her professional growth to her involvement in AMTA, CSMTA and MTNA. She appreciates that MTNA helps ensure that music is a profession, a source of creativity and a vehicle for expressive communication. She was touched last fall when the MTNA Foundation reached out to Louisiana musicians who had been affected by the massive floods there.


Judy Bede, NCTM, has been a member of MTNA since 1975 and has been certified since 1976. A graduate of Concordia College, she teaches piano in her independent studio, teaching Suzuki and traditional students from beginning to advanced. Bede is adjunct professor of directed teaching at Cedarville University. She has served in many capacities at the local and state levels and was named 2002 State Certified Teacher of the Year, an award she initiated as state certification chair. In addition to involvement in Ohio MTA/MTNA, Bede is active in other music organizations, is a church organist and performs as pianist, organist and accompanist in many community venues.


Bonnie Blanchard, NCTM, holds degrees from the University of Washington. She began playing flute at age 19 and later engaged in a series of private instruction on piano, violin, viola, voice and flute. Blanchard’s ideas and enthusiasm create students who excel at their instrument, are frequent prize winners and love what they do. She is well known as a pedagogue and speaker in the United States and Canada. Blanchard is the author of Making Music And Enriching Lives: A Guide for All Music Teachers, Making Music And Having a Blast!: A Guide for All Music Students and an online resource, Music Games for Life!


Marvin Blickenstaff, NCTM, holds performance and academic honors from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Indiana University. The Marvin Blickenstaff Endowment Fund was established by the MTNA Foundation Fund. In 2007, the Piano Pedagogy Forum published tributes to Blickenstaff, and he was named Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music. He received the 2009 MTNA Achievement Award. Blickenstaff served as piano department chair at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Goshen College, and from 2000–2013 he was president of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy. Blickenstaff teaches in his home studio in the Philadelphia area and at The New School for Music Study.

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Lynda Childs Broadbent, NCTM, has taught the art of piano for 40 years. A member of Utah MTA and MTNA for more than 30 years, she has served locally and statewide, including publicity and Foundation duties, as well as Conference chair vice president and state president (2006–2008). Nationally, she served as chair of the MTNA State Affiliate of the Year Award committee and currently is the MTNA Southwest Division Junior Competitions chair. She enjoys composing music for her family, and helps her students win awards in state and PTA Reflections contests. Broadbent and her husband David, have five children and 15 grandchildren.


David Brunell, NCTM, is professor of piano at the University of Tennessee. He has served Tennessee MTA in many capacities, founding UT’s MTNA student chapter. He received a DM degree from Indiana University and served as a United States Artistic Ambassador under President Reagan. His awards include first prizes in MTNA national high school piano competition and Beethoven Club’s Beethoven Sonata competition; second prizes in the New Orleans, Young Keyboard Artists and Louise D. McMahon International piano competitions; and TMTA Teacher of the Year. Brunell’s students’ awards include winning the MTNA Southern Division collegiate piano competition and selection to NPR’s From the Top program.

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Mary Leah Chavies began lessons at age 6 and performed her first solo piano recital at age 12. She has been an active member of MTNA ever since she helped start her local chapter in Grand Junction, Colorado in 1978. Chavies helped start and served as chair of the GJMTA Sontina Festival and the American Composers concert. She taught piano for 77 years, string bass for 47 years and played in the Grand Junction Symphony for 44 years. She was the CSMTA Teacher of the Year in 2008. Chavies contributes so much to her students, church and community still today!


Bonnie Esbensen is an educator, music teacher and cognitive psychologist who, for 20 years, served in several capacities on the Oregon Music Teachers Association board of directors, including state president. During this time, she oversaw many changes in OMTA, such as the creation of a more professional look for OMTA journals, website and printed media; a revitalization of state conferences; and most significantly, a change in OMTA’s operations and philosophy from that of an exclusive membership of elite teachers to one of an inclusive membership welcoming all teachers who care about music and teaching.


Barbara Fast, NCTM, Frieda Derdeyn Professor of Piano and piano area chair, coordinates the group piano program and teaches graduate and undergraduate piano pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma. Currently serving as past president of OMTA, she has received numerous awards honoring her teaching, including the 2013 OMTA Distinguished Teacher of the Year. Fast has served on numerous national and state MTNA positions including the MTNA e-Journal Editorial Committee. Her interest in research correlated to teaching in the private lesson and group class has resulted in frequent workshops related to practicing, technology, sight-reading and the brain’s negativity bias.


The late Edward Francis had a teaching career that spanned more than 40 years. Francis was a member of the applied music faculty at Moorpark College; the music faculty at Pepperdine University; California State University, Northridge, where he was the coordinator of piano pedagogy; and the music faculty at Oxnard College. The recipient of the 2006 Presidential Scholar in the Arts Teacher Recognition Award, he was named one of New West Symphony’s “20-for-20” honorees. Francis was an active member of MTNA, the California Association of Professional Music Teachers and the Music Teachers Association of California. His students won awards in numerous competitions and festivals.


Raeanna Gislason, NCTM, is a 45-year member of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association. During that time she established the Willmar Music Teachers Association, served MMTA as theory chair and later as president (1993–1995). Under the MTNA umbrella she served as Independent Music Teachers Forum chair and attended the Maryland and South Carolina state conferences. Gislason retired from her piano teaching career in 2011. She met her husband, Walt, while accompanying summer stock theater in the Black Hills of South Dakota. They now live in a retirement community in Wayzata, Minnesota, where she is the resident accompanist for the “Folkestone Singers.”


Arlene Gray, NCTM, holds degrees from Oregon State University and the University of Minnesota. As a Peace Corps volunteer, she spent two years in Iran. After returning to the U.S., getting married and starting a family in North Dakota, Gray began teaching piano and joined MTNA in 1979. She became a certified teacher and held office at both local and state levels. Gray served as a division competition site chair while teaching piano at Bismarck State College. A broken collar bone convinced her to return to pipe organ playing. Gray’s passion in retirement is to introduce students to accompanying hymns on an organ.


Elizabeth Gutierrez, NCTM, enjoys a multi-faceted career as a performer, teacher, pedagogue, composer and author. Gutierrez received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. She taught on the piano faculties of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she chaired the keyboard departments and instituted new piano pedagogy degree programs and courses. Her work as a professional music editor began in 1998 as the first in-house editor for The FJH Music Company; she continued her editing career with Carl Fischer, LLC, and the Theodore Presser Music Company. In 2012, Gutierrez joined the Faber Piano Adventures team.


Linda Holden teaches piano and voice in rural Montana. Her students have traveled 8–90 miles from 12 different communities to study at her Melody Music Studio during her 50 years of teaching. She credits MTNA and Montana State Music Teachers Association for the positive influence in her career. Holden served as Montana State president, membership treasurer, student affiliate director, scholarship chairman and historian. She also served as a state representative in Montana’s legislature. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and has been making music all her life. Holden is happy her students are able to share their talents with others.


David Holmes holds a BME degree from the University of Wichita, studying piano and flute, and an MM degree in piano pedagogy from the Peabody Conservatory. Further piano studies have included the Taubman Institute and most recently, with Robert Durso. Holmes teaches both instruments in an independent studio in Columbia, Maryland. He is a member of two local MTAs and has served on the board of the Maryland State MTA for more than 30 years. A major contributor to the MSMTA theory testing program, he served several years on Eastern Division projects. Holmes accompanies students in festivals and competitions and adjudicates.

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Maria Rotella Jacobsen, NCTM, studied music at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and received a bachelor’s degree in music performance. She has taught private music for more than 38 years. Jacobsen has maintained an active role in professional music organizations for 35 years and is a member of the Omaha Music Teachers Association and Nebraska Federation of Music Clubs. Her students have received numerous awards with OMTA and have earned National Gold Cups from the NFMC. She is currently president of OMTA. Jacobsen holds a Permanent Professional Certificate from MTNA. In October of 2014, she received the NMTA 2014 Service Award.


Mitzi Kolar, NCTM, professor of music emerita, San Diego State University, served as director, graduate studies in music, and taught piano, pedagogy and research. Her publications include Music in Education, Yamaha Corporation; Celebrate Piano, Stipes Publishing, LLC; an improvisation series; and she recorded Ross Finney’s Youth’s Companion, C. F. Peters. Kolar has performed or presented workshops and master classes throughout the U.S. and internationally. A former vice president and CAPMT Communiqué editor, Kolar serves as CAPMT District 1 Director on the CAPMT Connect Editorial Committee. She is a director, MTAC-San Diego; past president of The Musical Merit Foundation; and she maintains an independent studio.


Ludmila Lazar, NCTM, celebrates 50 years on the faculty of Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. A graduate of Ljlubljana Central Music School in Slovenia, she received a master’s degree from the Chicago Musical College (now the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University), and a DMA degree from Northwestern University. Lazar is a member of numerous professional organizations and is past president of the Society of American Musicians and of the Mu Phi Epsilon Fraternity. She was named Master Teacher by the American Music Scholarship Association and Outstanding Teacher of the Year by Roosevelt University.


Billie Leach, NCTM, holds a degree in business, but has continued her music education through piano and organ study and performance, personal inquiry and professional development. Leach is currently working on a degree in music education and church music. She has maintained a private studio in Shreveport, Louisiana for 63 years and has been actively involved in the Louisiana Federation of Music Clubs, the National Guild of Piano Teachers and Music Teachers National Association. Leach is a charter member of the Greater Shreveport MTA, where she has served many positions including president, vice president and program chair.


Donita McCoy has been a member of MTNA, Iowa MTA and Music Teachers of Central Iowa since 1987. She earned a BM degree from Iowa State University at age 33 and has been teaching for 49 years, maintaining a private studio for piano and strings. McCoy has served both MTCI and IMTA in numerous capacities. She currently is IMTA parliamentarian, a member of the Ethical Concerns committee and Young Artists and Chamber Music coordinator for the state MTNA competition. For 48 years, McCoy has been the section bass player in the Des Moines Symphony and is principal bass of the community orchestra in Ames.

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Edna Mae Hanks McCoy was born and reared in Jackson, Mississippi. Miriam Rowan was her piano teacher for 12 years. McCoy received a BM degree in piano from Mississippi State College for Women with department head Sigfred Matson. Currently she is in her 57th year as an independent piano teacher. A member of Mississippi MTA for more than 50 years, McCoy served as chair of pre-college evaluations for 18 years and co-chair for four years. During her adult years she has performed frequently, as have her many students. For more than 30 years McCoy has been pianist and organist for Main St. Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Mississippi.


Grace McFarlane is a former MTNA Eastern Division Director. She served on the MTNA Local Association Grant Committee and chaired the Arts Awareness and Advocacy Forum. A guest lecturer for the Smithsonian Institution’s “Campus on the Mall,” McFarlane participated in the Smithsonian/PBS Documentary, People and Pianos—300 years and recorded Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Wheaton Symphony Orchestra. She maintains a home studio and teaches the advanced seminar in piano pedagogy at the University of Maryland. McFarlane chairs and adjudicates competitions, and gives master classes and workshops. She taught at Peabody Preparatory, Wheaton and Judson Colleges, and Levine School of Music.

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Doris Lum Meyer, NCTM, has taught piano for more than 50 years. She began teaching while she was a high school senior. After beginning formal training at the St. Louis Institute of Music, Meyer received Advanced Teaching Certification in May 1968 and a Fellow Certificate in August 1974. Meyer continued her education through the year auditing college classes, taking private lessons and attending workshops. She joined Texas Music Teachers Association in September 1969. Active in the Conroe MTA, she was one of its founding members. Meyer received the 2016 TMTA Distinguished Teacher Award and has held many TMTA offices.

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Mary Kaye Owen, NCTM, has had a piano studio in Renton, Washington, since 1987. She has held offices in her local MTNA associations (South King County and Lake Washington), and from 2007 to 2009 she served as president of Washington State Music Teachers Association. Owen continues to volunteer as Northwest Division MTNA Performance Competitions Chair. She is proud to have traveled with her family to many of the MTNA conferences over the past 30 years. The MTNA Foundation Gala is always a highlight. Owen is grateful to be named an MTNA Foundation Fellow!


Florence Price (1887–1953), a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, was a pioneer in the field of American classical music. She became the first black woman composer to earn an international reputation for her music. She earned a BM degree at the New England Conservatory; in Chicago, she won the Wanamaker Award for her first symphony, which was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933 as part of the World’s Fair. The performance was attended by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who wrote about it in her column, “My Day.” Denied membership in ASMTA during her lifetime, we proudly honor her now.


The late Virginia Queen graduated from Ouachita Baptist University in 1944 with bachelor of arts and bachelor of music degrees. She earned a master of music degree from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. After teaching music at Prescott High School and the Tennessee College for Women she joined the Ouachita music faculty in 1946, where she taught piano and theory for 40 years before retiring in 1986. She was ASMTA president and was named 1979 College Teacher of the Year. Queen established a piano competition at Ouachita to encourage piano majors to excel in their instrument. She passed away at age 95.


The late Jane Scheef was a board member for the Wisconsin MTA, serving three terms as state treasurer. While state treasurer, Scheef always had the organization’s best interests at heart and traveled across the state giving workshops to local affiliates on tax-related business issues. Scheef was instrumental in WMTA forming an alliance with the other Wisconsin arts organizations, and she provided considerable assistance when WMTA established its state headquarters. Prior to retiring, Scheef taught a full studio for 40 years, frequently serving as an adjudicator for state auditions and competitions. She also was an advocate for the MTNA Foundation, by supporting Wisconsin Fellows at the national conference.


Barbara “Bobbi” Stoutenburgh, NCTM, has been named an Honored Teacher and Honorary Lifetime Member of the Arizona State Music Teachers Association. She has held many positions on the ASMTA and Phoenix Music Teachers Association Board of Directors, chaired many committees and spearheaded many student events. Her students have participated in conference master classes, been accepted into major music schools, won prizes in competitions and earned graduate degrees. A native of Washington, D.C., she and her husband, Jay, have five children, 14 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. Stoutenburgh continues to study music and enjoys performing in small recitals.


Sandy Triplett has had an active and progressive piano studio in Germantown, Tennessee, for more than 30 years. Her private studio has evolved into an innovative adult program with committed learners. Embracing the RMM program in 2010, she partnered with a local store to teach adult group classes. Triplett served her local and state groups in various positions including past president of TMTA. She has been an adjudicator at local and state competitions, as well as presenting at the local, state and national conference. Triplett received Teacher of the Year from her local GMMTA and the Distinguished Service Award from Tennessee MTA.


Karen Wallace is a studio and music classroom teacher. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Southwestern University and a master’s in music from the University of Houston. In 2012, she completed the Rice University Center for College Readiness course for AP Music Theory. A member of MTNA and Texas MTA since 1976, she was named 2003 TMTA Teacher of the Year and is the TMTA immediate past president. Wallace has served in numerous roles in both state and local MTAs. She is the published author of many music instruction books and has presented at many conferences and served as a clinician.


Robert Weirich has performed in such musical centers as Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall, the Kennedy Center and Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, and at such summer festivals as Tanglewood, Ravinia and Marlboro. His international appearances include Asia, Europe and South America. His compositions have been performed at festivals nationwide. Weirich was the artistic director of the Skaneateles Festival in upstate New York from 1990–1999. Other administrative activity includes a term as president of the College Music Society and chairing piano departments wherever he has taught. Weirich has held the Jack Strandberg Missouri Endowed Chair in Piano at the UMKC Conservatory since 1998.