Master Teacher Award - Spring 1990
A prominent figure in music education since 1951, Professor Emeritus Dwaine Nelson exemplified the ideal of both conductor and teacher giving, without reserve, of his time and knowledge. As a music educator, his caring and expertise displayed itself in the commitment and achievements of his students. Although demanding a high level of skill, he believed everyone deserved the opportunity to succeed and he created a warm and friendly environment conducive to learning.
Professor Nelson joined the University of Saskatchewan in 1967 and in 1990 was presented with the Master Teacher Award for his excellence in and dedication to teaching. He was a driving force in the development of the Department of Music forming instrumental programs which grew from near non-existence to hundreds of participants. In 1978 he founded UNIFEST which has become one of western Canada's major music festivals and which also attracts thousands of students annually. Over the years he conducted over 300 concerts and clinic/workshops in western Canada and the United States, served as adjudicator or examiner at 80 music festivals and as guest conductor for bands, orchestras and choral groups.
His years as conductor of the Saskatoon Junior Symphony and the Saskatoon Symphony were times of tremendous growth. His Orchestral Development Program was recognized by the Canada Council as a "significant model of all of Canada." The objective was to integrate the artist, the potential artist, the dedicated amateur and, above all, the youth, in a creative development program. In recent years, Dwaine was the conductor of the Saskatoon Oratorio Choir, performing choral works with the Saskatoon Symphony.
The Saskatchewan Arts Board bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Arts commendation to Dwaine for "his extraordinary dedication to nurturing musical development towards higher artistic and educational achievements."
Described by his students and colleagues as "an educator of the highest standard" many will continue to benefit from him without ever knowing the source.