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Festival-founding music teacher honoured at this year’s Deep Roots

Marlene Jackson will receive the Valley Arts Award recognizing her years of contribution to music on September 30 at the festival finale concert.
Marlene Jackson will receive the Valley Arts Award recognizing her years of contribution to music on September 30 at the festival finale concert. - Contributed

Marlene Jackson has taught music since 1955 and co-founded the Annapolis Valley Music Festival

WOLFVILLE – Monumental music teacher Marlene Jackson will receive this year’s Valley Arts Award at the upcoming Deep Roots Music Festival in Wolfville.

The veteran musician and music teacher has taught music since 1955 and was thus an ‘easy choice’ and ‘obvious candidate’ for the honour, according to festival publicity director Jim Murphy.

“If you look at the mission of our festival, the role of music in education is core to everything we do. That’s why Marlene was our choice for our fifteenth anniversary,” he said.

Jackson worked as a music teacher at Horton District High School from 1982 to 1992 and received an award for Innovative Curriculum Development from the Nova Scotia Teachers Union. She is also a co-founder of the Annapolis Valley Music Festival, which she remains actively involved with.

“I just love the kids,” she said of why she’s stuck with teaching and has kept on with the festival for so many years.

Jackson's other accomplishments include winning the Presidential Service Award from the Canadian Registered Music Teachers Association in 1990, which recognized her service and contribution to Canada’s musical culture.

This was followed by Jackson receiving an honourary life membership to the Nova Scotia Music Educators’ Association in 1998, also recognizing her contributions to the province’s culture of music. These, and more, show just how much Jackson has given to music in Nova Scotia.  

“[Marlene is] at the root of what is means to keep music alive in the school system, especially now that it’s kind of under attack and is not funded like it should be,” he said.

Jackson said she was surprised when notified of the award she is to receive Sept. 30 at the festival's finale concert, but that “it’s an honour.”

She also said she looks forward to continuing her work teaching music, and with the festival.

“The festival is something that is very beneficial to students. The learning experience and hearing each other play – it’s all very important for them,” she said.

“There are countless studies that prove it – music...improves everything.”

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