Beloved music ed­u­ca­tor hum­bled by honorary de­gree

Me­mo­rial Univer­sity rec­og­niz­ing con­tri­bu­tions of Max­ine Stan­ley to the music com­mu­nity

Nor'wester (Springdale) - - CLASSIFIED - BY SA­MAN­THA GAR­DINER

GRAND FALLS-WIND­SOR, NL — Whether it’s help­ing stu­dents ex­plore a new piece of music or pre­sent­ing a choir to an ea­ger au­di­ence, Max­ine Stan­ley is known for the beau­ti­ful songs and sounds she de­vel­ops and en­cour­ages.

Stan­ley, a ded­i­cated and much-loved music teacher in Grand Falls-Wind­sor, will be awarded an hon­ourary de­gree dur­ing the fall con­vo­ca­tion cer­e­monies at Me­mo­rial Univer­sity.

Stan­ley will be pre­sented with an honorary doc­tor of laws de­gree at the Cor­ner Brook Arts and Cul­ture cen­tre on Oct. 5. Stan­ley, along with 1,000 other grad­u­at­ing Me­mo­rial Univer­sity stu­dents, will re­ceive their de­grees dur­ing the Gren­fell Cam­pus Me­mo­rial Univer­sity fall con­vo­ca­tion.

When Stan­ley found out she would be re­ceiv­ing an honorary de­gree she was shocked. Her for­mer stu­dent Les­ley Roberts said, “I wasn’t at all sur­prised be­cause there is no one more de­serv­ing.”

Re­cip­i­ents of honorary de­grees are cho­sen from nom­i­na­tions sub­mit­ted to the se­nate (the univer­sity’s aca­demic gov­ern­ing body) by the public. The honorary doc­tor­ate de­gree rec­og­nizes ex­tra­or­di­nary con­tri­bu­tions to so­ci­ety or the univer­sity or ex­cep­tional in­tel­lec­tual

or artis­tic achieve­ment.


For close to 50 years Stan­ley has been a prom­i­nent fig­ure in the music com­mu­nity in Grand Falls-Wind­sor.

Stan­ley may be best known for the na­tion­ally rec­og­nized youth choir she founded and di­rects, the Bel Canto Singers.

Stan­ley has ded­i­cated so much of her life to young mu­si­cians in Grand Falls-Wind­sor, but more than that, she has be­come a con­fi­dante and role model to young as­pir­ing mu­si­cians.

“As a young mu­si­cian she was my big­gest mo­ti­va­tor and men­tor and I feel that I owe some of my great­est ac­com­plish­ments to her,” said for­mer stu­dent Jenna Bragg. “Over the years she has played many dif­fer­ent roles in my life, from the role model, to the firm en­forcer, to the friend.

“It would be im­pos­si­ble to count the hours that Max­ine has ded­i­cated over the years to en­sure her stu­dents are al­ways pre­pared.”

Bragg went on to study music at Me­mo­rial Univer­sity. She cred­its Stan­ley for help­ing her be­come the mu­si­cian she is to­day, as Stan­ley al­ways gave her the ex­tra push she may have needed.

“I am truly grate­ful for ev­ery­thing Max­ine has done for me over the years and am ec­static that her self­less­ness and bril­liance are be­ing ac­knowl­edged in this way,” Bragg said.

Stan­ley has twice chaired the Cen­tral New­found­land Ki­wa­nis Music Fes­ti­val, and ev­ery year went above and be­yond, vol­un­teer­ing count­less hours to her stu­dents.

In prepa­ra­tion for Ki­wa­nis Music Fes­ti­vals Stan­ley will give up her Satur­day morn­ings to host mas­ter classes in her liv­ing room; where all of her stu­dents can come to re­hearse with an au­di­ence of their peers. She of­fers this ser­vice free of charge whereas most stu­dios charge a fee for this op­por­tu­nity, Roberts told The Ad­ver­tiser.

“There are peo­ple who come into our lives and for­ever leave a last­ing im­pact, Max­ine (is) one of these peo­ple for me. (She) in­spired, em­pow­ered and sup­ported her stu­dents in more ways than I can count,” said an­other for­mer stu­dent, Sarah Miller.

Af­ter speak­ing with for­mer stu­dents of Stan­ley’s, it is ob­vi­ous she has de­vel­oped a spe­cial re­la­tion­ship with each one of them.

“They’ve all been very spe­cial to me,” said Stan­ley.

De­spite both the pass­ing of time and dis­tance, she still keeps in touch with her stu­dents.

“She al­ways remembers to ask how things are,” Miller said. “I am so proud to have her in my life. (I am thank­ful] for (her) pos­i­tive in­flu­ence, knowl­edge and be­lief in us.

“Most of all for al­ways mak­ing me smile and for show­ing me what the power of never giv­ing up on what you love looks like.”

Roberts noted, “The work and ded­i­ca­tion she has (shown) to the music com­mu­nity in New­found­land speaks for it­self. Mrs. Stan­ley is the first to get in­volved in many projects all across the is­land, and never ex­pects any­thing in re­turn - least of all recog­ni­tion.

“She in­spires con­fi­dence and dis­ci­pline and im­parts a love of music to all she teaches. I am so proud and can think of no one more de­serv­ing of this hon­our.”


Max­ine Stan­ley will be hon­ored at the Me­mo­rial Univer­sity fall con­vo­ca­tion cer­e­mony where she will re­ceive an honorary doc­tor of laws de­gree on Oct. 5.

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