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Rockwood couple's estate gifts $250,000 to organization that promotes music education

Kodály Society of Canada has a series of free online workshops for music teachers in response to increasing awareness of systemic racism and to support music teachers during COVID
Bookbinder_Kodaly donation Aug 2020
Kim Eyre, president of the Kodaly Society of Ontario, is presented with the Bookbinder Estate donation from the estate executor, Peter Hannam. Submitted photo

The estate of Rockwood's Klara and Oskar Bookbinder has gifted a quarter of a million dollars to an organizaton that promotes music education.

The money was awarded to the Kodály Society of Canada (KSC).

“The Kodály Society of Canada is humbled and honoured to be part of the Bookbinder’s legacy in Canada,” said to KSC president Dr. Jody Stark, who notes that the Bookbinder gift will allow the association to support quality music education in Canadian schools and communities in a variety of ways.e“The impact of this gift from the Bookbinder Estate is enormous for music education in Canada. We anticipate being able enact several initiatives that will have a direct benefit to music educators and students across the country.”

The Bookbinders immigrated to Canada from Hungary in 1957 in the aftermath of the Hungarian Revolution.

Prior to leaving Hungary, Klara earned her Masters of Music degree in piano methodology and became the head of the music department at a teachers college in Hungary. Zoltán Kodály was one of her teachers.

Oscar studied organ and conducting and then worked under Kodály as a research fellow with the Institute for Musicology at the Hungarian Academy of Arts of Sciences.

Upon settling in Toronto, Klara taught piano lessons and group music classes in several schools in Toronto and Rockwood. Klara’s approach to teaching was influenced by her education and experience in Hungary, and she self-published 10 books of pedagogical compositions and two volumes of compositions by her students.

While Oscar studied engineering and started a consulting firm, he also taught music theory and piano and helped Klara teach group music classes. Klara passed away in 2017. Oskar passed away in 2019.

The Kodály Society of Ontario (KSO) will also receive a portion of the Bookbinder funds in support of an ambitious music teacher professional learning project across the province.

“We plan to offer workshops for early childhood, kindergarten and primary music educators in as many Ontario regions as possible over the next five years,” explains KSO president Kim Eyre. “We want to honour Mrs. Bookbinder’s commitment to early childhood music education in an impactful way and support teachers to bring music into their classrooms at a critical stage of children’s development.”

The Bookbinder gift is already being used to benefit Canadian music teachers and students.

The KSC has planned a series of free online workshops for music teachers throughout the 2020-21 school year in response to increasing awareness of systemic racism and to support music teachers during the time of COVID. Workshop details can be found on the KSC website at .