It was a performance Colleen Richardson never expected.
On Friday, the Don Wright Faculty of Music professor was awarded the Canadian Band Association (CBA) International Band Award. Marking only the fourth time this honour has been given since 1991, Richardson received her award during a surprise presentation in the Paul Davenport Theatre.
Unexpectedly joining her on stage, a contingent of CBA and Ontario Band Association (OBA) executives, along with Don Wright Faculty of Music Dean Betty Anne Younker, were on hand to recognize Richardson during the final Western University Wind Ensemble concert of the academic year. Among those present were Scott Harrison, CBA President and OBA Past President, and Dennis Beck, BMus’77, BEd’79, who helped establish the OBA in 2000.
“Professor Richardson’s work on national and international stages makes a direct impact on the quality of our students’ musical experiences and understanding about wind band and traditions and practices,” Younker said.
The CBA International Band Award honour a person who has embraced the ideals of the CBA outside Canada and is recognized for their contribution to the international band movement, or who has represented Canada or served in an official capacity in organizations outside Canada. The CBA is a national organization representing and supporting school, university, military and community bands, as well as anyone involved with or interested in bands and band music across Canada.
“Dr. Richardson has been a true leader in the world of band music both in Canada and internationally for decades,” Mark Caswell, OBA Festival Coordinator & Past President, said. “Her stature as a researcher, conductor, teacher, clinician and celebrated educator has only grown over time. I have known Colleen for about 15 years now and cannot think of a more accomplished yet humble candidate for this award.”
The successful nomination noted Richardson’s extensive contributions to the development of band across Canada and across nations. It read, in part:
“She has dedicated her entire life to teaching young people, from elementary students learning their first notes on an instrument through postgraduate university musicians, many of whom have become recognized music educators themselves. Colleen is genuinely one of the honest, conscientious, creative and most talented band educators in our province and it has been an honour to know that she is so well respected and regarded on the international band scene. Colleen’s international work has been quite extensive – she has conducted research across Europe, presented a variety of research at a host of international conferences, and she has been a very active clinician, music director and guest conductor in eight countries including a recent tour in Japan.”
As a professor of Music Education and Performance Studies, Richardson is Coordinator of Bands and directs the Wind Ensemble at Western, as well as teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in conducting and instrumental music education. In collaboration with Music professor Kevin Watson, she administrates Western’s Young Winds program, a community band for students in Grade 6-9, and supervises the undergraduate music education majors selected to rehearse and conduct the ensemble. Prior to Western, Richardson was a Music Education professor and the Wind Ensemble Director at Converse College in South Carolina.
Besides being active as a clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor nationally, Richardson has guest conducted or presented her research at conferences in Ireland, Switzerland, Italy, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, Wales and the United States. Her research focuses on wind literature, conducting pedagogy, and rehearsal techniques. Publications include articles for Canadian Winds, Canadian Music Educator Journal, as well as multiple study guides for the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series.
Richardson has produced two CDs with the Western University Wind Ensemble – Apparitions and Explorations – and the Hunsberger DVD within GIA’s DVD set entitled Three Icons: Frank Battisti, Donald Hunsberger, and H. Robert Reynolds.
Richardson is also a member of the Program Leadership Team for World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) Composition Contest Program as Canada’s representative among a host of other national members.
A native of Winnipeg, Richardson graduated from Brandon University, the University of Calgary, and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Her primary conducting teachers have been Rodney Winther and Glenn Price. However, she has studied with many other well-respected composers and conductors, including Craig Kirchhoff, Karel Husa, Warren Benson, David Maslanka, Eugene Corporon, Mallory Thompson, Robert Reynolds, and Jerry Junkin.