A gifted young Red Deer jazz pianist is one of this year’s national recipients of the MusiCounts Fred Sherratt Award.
Dean Thiessen, who studied at Red Deer College, is one of only three Albertans and 12 music students from across Canada who received the $3,500 award. He also got an all-expense-paid trip to Toronto for the presentation ceremony at the MuchMusic studio.
Thiessen is described as a “remarkable musician,” with high academic achievements and a positive personality. He worked with the Chamber Choir, Percussion Ensemble, and Jazz Combos. Thiessen was also a music society president who ran pub shows, student concerts, a swing dance and fundraisers for various charities.
He intends to further his studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston this fall.
“It’s fantastic to recognize the outstanding work that these students have done and send them off into the working world inspired to keep striving for excellence,” said Melanie Berry, president and CEO of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), the organization responsible for the Juno Awards, and MusiCounts.
Sherratt is an award-winning broadcasting pioneer who was instrumental in building the CHUM stations.
MusiCounts is Canada’s music education charity that’s associated with CARAS and tasked with keeping music alive in schools across the country. MusiCounts’ mission is also to ensure all children have access to musical programs, regardless of socioeconomic status.