Kodály Symposium about the exchange of ideas

By Ryan Stelter, Camrose Canadian

Music educators from the all over the world will be coming to Camrose next week for the Kodály Symposium. 


The 23rd annual Kodály Symposium is coming to the University of Alberta-Augustana campus from Aug. 8-13. This is the third time the symposium will be held in Canada, and it is usually held in larger cities.  

“In this location it’s kind of like a retreat, people come here for the purpose of the conference,” said Kodály organization committee chairperson Ardelle Ries. “It’s also beautiful, we’ve got great weather, and [Camrose] really had the right components to make it happen.” 

There will be a couple musical performances throughout the week available to the public. On Aug. 9, at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Centre, Dene singer Leela Gilday will be performing at 8 p.m. On Aug. 10, the Borealis String Quartet from Vancouver will also play at the Lougheed at 8 p.m. The theme for this year’s Kodály Symposium is “singing the circle” and on Aug. 12 both delegates and members of the community will be able to sing at 8 p.m. at the Lougheed.  

The symposium will also consist of workshops, research presentations and delegates’ own singing activities and music making activities.  

Ries, an associate professor of music at Augustana says this symposium is just like any other conference that brings people together across the same field.  

“People are going to have the chance to exchange ideas, network, and really think about the future of music education in the 21st century,” she said. “It’s to find the best approaches to enrich and improve music education.” 

The symposium is named after Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) a Hungarian composer who came up with the Kodály Method. The Kodály Method is a different approach to music education, something Ries has dedicated her life to promoting. 

“This particular approach to music education is based on singing, when you learn how to read music in this approach you learn through singing rather than sitting at a piano or your violin,” she said.  

“I’m a singer, singing is my life in lots of ways, I began singing when I was very young, made a career of it and teaching other people to sing. So this approach really spoke to me because of the emphasis on the singing voice.” 

Ries had to spend a few years in Hungary to learn this style of teaching, which she says has become the “mecca” of the Kodály Method. It was her diploma she earned in Hungary which created the connection to allow Camrose to host this symposium. 

Bringing the symposium to Camrose puts the Rose City among the ranks of world class cities such as Athens, London, and Melbourne.  

“It makes people aware of this gem that is Camrose, Alta.,” Ries said. “Over the last 25 years I’ve been involved with this kind of music education, so I’ve been involved internationally with these organizations that promote this approach. When it came time to decide where the symposium would be for 2017 I thought we got an amazing university campus here with Augustana. We’ve got an amazingly musical community.” 

The 2017 Kodály Symposium is being hosted in conjunction with the City of Camrose, the U of A, as well as the Kodály Society of Canada, the Alberta Kodály Association and the International Kodály Society. With the throngs of musical educators in Camrose, there will be some exploring done by the visitors.  

“Not only do we have 257 delegates and presenters coming here, but many of them will bring family members,” Ries said.  

“In terms of our businesses, there will be a lot of people visiting restaurants and going downtown and exploring. That will help from an economic benefit. Also from a musical benefit, it really will make everyone in Camrose really aware that we are a very musical community.”  

Delegates will also get the chance to see the Perseids meteor shower, which will be at its height on Aug. 12 and 13. There will be visits to Miquelon Lake Provincial Park and the Camrose biathlon course to view the meteor showers. 

For Ries, hosting the Kodály Symposium is exciting, calling it a family reunion.  

“It’s a dream come true, bringing these people from all over the world that will come here all together in one place to exchange their ideas,” she said. “It’ll be such an immense opportunity for networking and connection, but also opportunities to envision a really strong and bright future for music education.”  


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