Dr Debra Cairns, who was awarded the prestigious Richard S. Eaton Award acknowledging exemplary service to choral music in the province of Alberta, said of the recognition “it is an honour to even be nominated ; this award celebrates a great number of talented people in Alberta who are dedicated to maintaining and growing the choral community. Richard Eaton founded the Department of Music, and was hugely influential in the Edmonton musical community. It is a distinct honour to receive this award in his name.”
In concert with Cairns, Dr Leonard Ratzlaff oversees the graduate Choral Conducting program in the Department of Music. Ratzlaff, Professor of Choral Music and past Department chair, was awarded the inaugural Alberta Music Education Foundation Award, recognizing excellence in music education.
Both Cairns’ and Ratzlaff’s accomplishments have been greatly influential in creating one of the leading graduate choral conducting programs in Canada. Recognized with the Patricia Cook Memorial Award for dedication and commitment to arts advocacy and the important role of arts in education, the Department of Music’s Graduate Choral Conducting program has been cited for its influence in training conductors in the province of Alberta and its dedication to the growth of the choral music in the province.