Stephen Horning says he’s more than comfortable talking to a large group of young music students under his direction. But delivering a speech in front of his peers?
“Not my forte, pardon the pun,” Horning said with a quiet laugh.
On Saturday (Oct. 26) at Richmond’s River Rock Casino Resort, he’ll be forced to say a few words to those who attend the annual BC Music Educators’ Association conference, where he’ll be given an award for Outstanding Professional Educator – Elementary.
The award recognizes Horning for his work as music teacher at North Surrey’s Simon Cunningham Elementary, where he’s been on staff for 30 years and still teaches fulltime.
“I’m 65 now, and I decided to keep doing this until I no longer have the energy, and I still have lots of energy,” Horning said Monday.
As he talked on the phone with the Now-Leader, a recording of his students singing O Canada played on the school PA system in the background – a start-of-the-week reminder of his music instruction there.
Away from school, Horning is founder and director of Surrey Children’s Choir, launched in 1992. Before that, he taught in Campbell River for a dozen years, prior to moving to the Lower Mainland to work in the Surrey School District.
“Over the years I’ve had hundreds of students, and quite a few of them have gone on to professional careers,” Horning noted.
In 2008, Horning was an inaugural recipient of the Surrey Civic Treasures award, given to those who make a significant contribution to the city in the area of arts and culture.
The BC Music Educators’ Association award came as a surprise to Horning.
“The past president (Cindy Romphf) phoned me out of the blue and told me about it, and I was kind of flabbergasted because so many people are worthy of this.”
Over the weekend, Horning was with members of Surrey Children’s Choir for an annual retreat in Harrison.
Looking ahead, the choir will perform with Surrey City Orchestra during a “Nutcracker” concert at Chandos Pattison Auditorium on Nov. 30, prior to the organization’s annual Christmas concert, on Dec. 14 at Mount Olive Lutheran Church.