It is difficult to say good-bye to a loyal colleague who has dedicated six years to an organization and elevated it beyond expectations. It is even more difficult when this person has won the respect and admiration of key stakeholders across the country, and has become a true friend of so many supporters. It is therefore with sadness that I announce that Holly Nimmons has decided to leave her position as Executive Director with the Coalition for Music Education in Canada, effective July 31, 2017 in order to return to her business, Opis.
Holly came to us at a time in the Coalition’s history when we had received international recognition for our signature program, Music Monday. In her second year, she developed a partnership with the Canadian Space Agency and, working with partners such as CBC and the Ontario Science Centre, secured a live link with the International Space Station and Commander Chris Hadfield to celebrate the power of music in our lives. After that we asked ourselves, “And how do we top that?” Indeed, Holly took the question as a challenge that needed to be explored, and she continued to build a new model for Music Monday, working to ensure that our celebrations were diverse and inclusive.
Holly conceptualized and led several music education advocacy initiatives. The “Success in Music. Success in Life. It’s no Coincidence” awareness campaign, Music Monday’s 10th anniversary celebrations, and this year’s National Showcase Concert from the National Arts Centre to celebrate Canada’s special birthday. To commemorate the centenary of women’s suffrage in Canada, she initiated the Women’s Empowerment Through Music project.
A passionate advocate, Holly focussed on the importance of fostering grassroots support and developed new community engagement programs, including Wise Voices for Music and Youth4Music. Wise Voices for Music develops local action strategies through multi-generational and multi-sectoral collaboration. Realizing the potential of youth across Canada, she initiated and developed a youth leadership program called Youth4Music. This has become our second signature program that continues to engage thousands of young people across Canada.
These are but a few examples of the many programs and projects that she nurtured throughout her tenure, always securing resources to achieve the goals and sustain the Coalition, while engaging more and more partners in our work and building our network of supporters for music education.
In 2013, Holly’s commitment and passion were recognized with a Community Leadership Award (International Level) from Sing Canada Harmony for “outstanding leadership and lasting contribution in support of Vocal Music in the communities and schools of Canada”. In 2014, the Canadian Music Educators’ Association honoured her with their Builders Award – National, for “raising the profile of music education, its connection to other academic disciplines, and the role of music in empowering youth”.
We are grateful for Holly’s work as an advocate for music education in Canada. Her vision and her legacy will continue, and as the Coalition for Music Education begins the next chapter, we know that we are stronger because of her leadership. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to express my sincere appreciation for her dedication and commitment, and we all wish her well in her future work knowing that she will be missed.
In the coming weeks we will be posting an ad for the Executive Director position, and we invite interested parties to contact the undersigned for more information.
Dr. Eric Favaro, Chair