In nearly 60 years Evelyn Stanley has taught thousands of children and adults.
And during that time the music teacher from Grand Falls-Windsor has endeared herself to those students and their families.
Stanley is known for having an inclusive attitude when it comes to music and the arts. No one should be left out in her mind and she’s taken in many a child who could not afford lessons. Giving to the community and sharing her passion are two things she firmly believes in.
She said she’s never held and audition, but has had award-winning choirs.
“Sometimes when we audition for a musical the best audition is not necessarily the best actor or the best musician.”
She said any number of things could affect that performance, including being scared.
“And if they’re a really bad singer in the beginning you work with them and give them the confidence. And put them with two good kids and in the end they sing.
“No one person makes a choir.”
With words like that it’s easy to understand why Stanley was selected to received an honorary doctor of laws degree during the Grenfell Campus fall convocation in Corner Brook on Friday.
It’s also easy to see why a family from Grand Falls-Windsor nominated her for the distinction.
Wayne King was a little overwhelmed after watching the woman he’s known for 40 years receive her honorary degree.
He said Stanley has been an outstanding contributor to central Newfoundland and the province via music and he was surprised she had not been recognized sooner.
“She would be the most deserving that I would know,” he said
That’s why King and his daughter Joanna King, who now lives in Comfort Cove, decided do something about it by nominating her.
“Mrs. Stanley is an inclusive community leader and certainly she excels in music and the arts. But above all she is a wonderful human being who we believe has genuinely inspired youth, adults of all ages to become community leaders themselves, to become involved and to be a part of the larger community,” said Joanna.
Joanna was once a student of Stanley’s and even though she was tone deaf was welcomed into a musical group.
“And she made me feel part of the group. She used music as a way as well to build confidence and I would say spirit in young people.”
Joanna said her focus was not on the ability.
“Her focus was about the individual and having them a part of something larger and having the confidence and to feel good about themselves.”
As for Stanley she said she was grateful and humbled to be selected to receive the honorary degree.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen.”