Marlene Jackson Winner of the 15th Valley Arts Award

Marlene Jackson Winner of the 15th Valley Arts Award
By Wendy Elliott

An active music teacher in Berwick, Marlene Jackson is receiving recognition from the Deep Roots Music Festival as one of the two founders of another festival. The Kings County Music Festival floundered in 1943 and there were 10 years without a music festival to inspire young music students. Marlene Jackson and the late Hetty Jackson ramped up interest again in the late 1970s, launching the Annapolis Valley Music Festival. That is one reason Jackson is going to be the fifteenth winner of the Valley Arts Award from Deep Roots. In addition, Jackson has long been a force in the local music education scene, and her students continue to win gold. Former students, like Ariana Nasr, sing her praises.

While teaching at Horton District High School (1982 – 1993), Jackson received an award for “Innovative Curriculum Development in the Classroom” from The Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union. In 1990, she won the Presidential Service Award in recognition of and appreciation for voluntary service, and a Contribution to the Musical Culture of Canada award from the Canadian Registered Music Teachers Association. Jackson was granted a Nova Scotia Music Educators’ Association honorary life membership “in recognition of her outstanding contribution to music education in Nova Scotia.” That took place in 1998. Then in 2002, the Annapolis Valley Music Festival created an award to recognize the two unrelated founders for their sincere inspiration and dedication. The Jackson Bowl is presented provincially. The Nova Scotia Band Association gave Jackson a life membership in 2003 “for outstanding service to the Nova Scotia Band Association.” She was included in a 2005 book, titled Notes from a Musical Garden, written by former student Brenda Porter, for the Nova Scotia Music Educators Association. The book lists her as one of ten pioneers in music in Nova Scotia.

She also taught in Berwick and at West Kings, where she formed the first band. Jackson continues to teach piano, brass, saxophone and music rudiments privately in Berwick.

The Valley Arts Award is presented to someone who has made a significant, long-term contribution to the Arts in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Organizers of the Deep Roots Music Festival are pleased to present this year’s award to Jackson. The official presentation will take place at the finale concert on Sept. 30. A number of past recipients of the award will also attend to celebrate. Festival spokesman Jim Murphy congratulated Jackson on her extensive achievements in music education, and said Deep Roots recognizes her lifelong commitment to inspiring future generations of musicians here in the Annapolis Valley.

The 15th Annual Deep Roots Music Festival will be held Sept. 27-30 in Wolfville.

Valley Arts Award Winners:
2004 Jack Sheriff (deceased)
2005 Sara Lee Lewis
2006 Chet Brown
2007 Jack MacDonald
2008 Jim Morrow
2009 John Kavanagh (posthumously)
2010 Chris O’Neill
2011 Marilyn Manzer
2012 Barbara Hansen
2013 Brian Johnston
2014 Darrin Harvey
2015 Keith Ross
2016 Hughie McDonnell
2017 Ken Shorley
2018 Marlene Jackson