MusiCounts Announces the 10th Recipient of the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award

Photo Credit: Mark Dayton Photography

MusiCounts is thrilled to announce that Steve Sainas of Terry Fox Secondary School in Port Coquitlam, BC has been named the 2015 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award recipient. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the award, which recognizes the dedication of music teachers in Canada who help keep music education alive. Sainas will receive $10,000 plus a $10,000 contribution to his school’s music program. In addition, he will experience VIP treatment throughout JUNO Week, attending the Chairman’s Reception and the JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards, and will walk on the red carpet at The JUNO Awards Broadcast.

MusiCounts, Canada’s music education charity associated with The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) is helping to keep music alive across Canada. MusiCounts’ mission is to ensure that children in Canada, regardless of socio-economic circumstances or cultural background, have access to music programs through their schools and communities. This is achieved through the Band Aid Program, the TD Community Music Program, the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, Scholarships and other music education initiatives. Since MusiCounts’ establishment in 1997, nearly $8,000,000 will have been awarded to help support music education in Canada. These funds have benefitted over 700 schools and communities from coast to coast, supported over 330 post-secondary music program graduates and honoured 10 extraordinary music teachers through the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award.

Multi-Platinum selling group MAGIC! has shown their support by contributing $100,000 towards MusiCounts programs, which includes the sponsorship of the 2015 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award. The team at MusiCounts is truly grateful for the group’s generosity.

“With 2015 marking the 10th anniversary of this award, Steve Sainas represents all of the qualities of a music teacher that led to its creation a decade ago,” said Allan Reid, President & CEO, CARAS/The JUNO Awards & MusiCounts. “He has created a program that uses a forward-thinking approach to music education that engages students on a very deep level. Bestowing this honour to Steve would not be possible if it wasn’t for MAGIC!’s generosity. If it wasn’t for the music teachers in their own lives who provided them with formative experiences in music, they may not have followed the path that has led them to choose music as their career.”

“We were quite impressed to learn about the incredible program Mr. Sainas created for his students,” said Nasri, lead singer of MAGIC! “My older brother is a school teacher and we often talk about the benefit of music on young minds. It’s an educational experience that no child should miss out on. Teachers like Mr. Sainas help to ensure that thousands of children will get to reap the benefits of that experience.”

A Port Coquitlam legend, Sainas has been a music teacher for 28 years, both in the community and working with young people in the English and Music classrooms, as well as with special needs students in Terry Fox Secondary School’s Learning Centre. In 2000, he developed a largely self-funded project, the Rock School and Recording Arts Program, which encourages participation at all levels, including career path preparation. The classes welcome at-risk youth, the severely learning disabled, the physically disabled and the gifted. Every student in the program is provided with professional musical instruments and recording equipment. Outside of the classroom, Sainas is an accomplished musician, having performed and recorded in a wide variety of genres, and for the past fifteen years he has led an award-winning blues act, Mud Dog.

“I am deeply honoured to be receiving this prestigious award and feel privileged to be able to pay forward to my students the gift of music that I received all those years ago in Mr. Charles Russ’s grade 8 guitar class… a gift that introduced me to my passion for music, inspired me to teach, and gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams and aspirations,” said Sainas. “I wish to express my most heartfelt gratitude to MusiCounts, MAGIC! and everyone who actively supports music education.”