By THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO – Amid rapturous applause from students and cheering by members of the Tragically Hip, Alex Voros was honoured Thursday as Canada’s music teacher of the year.
Voros, of Toronto’s Chaminade College School, received the award for his 30 years of work in promoting musical education and for encouraging students of all backgrounds to learn an instrument.
“Whether they’ve played an instrument before, regardless of their musical experience they are welcomed … they have everything that they need to make music,” he said of the school’s music program, and paraphrased a famous Friedrich Nietzsche quote:
“Life without music is a mistake.”
Voros, 60, said he was thrilled to have the Tragically Hip on hand to present the award and listen to the school’s 70-member concert band, which performed the theme song to the film “The Godfather” and a medley of other tunes.
“It means a great deal to have international recording artists, through the presentation of this award, support and advocate for music education,” he told the audience in the school gym.
Voros added that he accepted the award on behalf of music teachers across Canada.
“It’s (dedicated to) the vast fraternity of music educators who toil ceaselessly in the cause of music education for all their students and teach them a love of music and making music.”
Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie said the band was honoured to acknowledge Voros’s talents and the work of all music educators.
“It’s been said that those who can, teach – and those who can’t, join rock bands,” Downie joked.
“Alex Voros isn’t just teaching, he’s making introductions, he’s introducing you to a lifelong friend,” he told the school’s students.
“He understands (music’s) magic and beauty and believes in its power to transform and to lift up spirits … He understands it, he feels it and he’s generous about it.”
Downie said learning an instrument isn’t about becoming the best guitar player or bass player in the school, it’s about forming a connection with music.
“You really don’t have to master the instrument, you don’t have to get hung up on (if you’re) good, or blow, or suck,” he said. “Just befriend that instrument and you’ll have a friend for life.”
Voros is the fourth recipient of the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award. It’s sponsored by MusiCounts, the music education charity of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Previous awards were handed out by the Rolling Stones, Celine Dion and Michael Buble.