UMTA Awards 2019 – 2020 Legacy Award Winner
The Legacy Award recognizes teachers who've created a great legacy for the music community. Criteria for consideration includes having a membership of at least 10 years in UMTA and MTNA, and service as an officer at the local or state level. Professional accomplishments, service to the community, and the nurturing and mentoring of students are also taken into consideration. Nominations are made and voted upon by UMTA Board Members.
Mary Louise Beckstrand
Mary Louise Beckstrand began her piano studies at the age of 6 in Kanosh, Utah. She continued her studies through college at USU, where she studied with Dr. Irving Wasserman and Betty Beecher, then the University of Utah, where she studied with Lenora Ford Brown.
Following college, Mary Louise and her husband, Linford settled in Bountiful, Utah with their seven children, where she opened her teaching studio. She joined UMTA and MTNA in 1981, and became active in chapter leadership - serving as Davis Chapter President from 1984-1985. She was UMTA State Vice President under Debra Gamero, and became UMTA State President from 1998-2000.
Mary Louise served as UMTA State Competition Chair, and then MTNA Southwest Division Competition Chair, and organized the only competition to take place in Honolulu, Hawaii.
As UMTA President, Mary Louise suggested lowering the cost of state conference attendance to $25.00, which resulted in record numbers of UMTA members who attended the state conference during her term of office. She was also instrumental in creating a website for UMTA, which was the birth of www.utahmta.org. Mrs. Beckstrand also initiated the teacher recognition program which recognized teachers at the state conference banquet who had been members of UMTA/MTNA for 10,20,30, and 40 years.
Mrs. Beckstrand retired from teaching in 2010 and served 3 missions with her husband for their church. They served in The Netherlands, as directors of the Mesa Temple Visitors’ Center, and in Johannesburg, South Africa. After returning from South Africa, Mrs. Beckstrand resumed teaching her grandsons, the oldest of which will be finishing Level 10 of AIM in the spring of 2020.
When she joined MTNA in 1981, Elaine Leggat had already been teaching piano lessons for over twenty years. Throughout her 55-year career, she believed in the power of music to enrich the lives of her students, and helped each one develop a genuine love for all kinds of music, from classical to religious to popular. She felt that each student, regardless of their future professional pursuits, should have basic skills that could be used in their homes and communities – playing by ear, leading music, composing, sightreading, accompanying. LDS students learned to play 20 hymns before leaving on a mission.
Her years were organized around major music events: Student Achievement and AIM preparation began in the fall, Halloween and Christmas concerts happened during the holidays, mega piano duet rehearsals led to the annual ‘monster’ concert each Spring. Summertime, organized around a unique theme each year, included specific learning goals, a plethora of prizes from giant candy bars to movie tickets, and culminated with a “Concert under the Stars” in her backyard, with blankets, chairs, doughnuts and juice her husband, Robert, always arranged. Each student felt Elaine’s individual love for them, and when necessary, Elaine quietly and happily taught students free of charge. A committed and enthusiastic member of the Sandy Chapter of UMTA, Elaine served in almost every position available there, including President, and also served on the UMTA state board.
Elaine taught out of her home studio until her husband’s aggressive cancer diagnosis, and her own cognitive decline, led her to retirement in 2016.