A Saint John Valley native is MusiCounts 2016 Teacher of The Year. Don Bossé, who grew up in Madawaska, was presented with the award at a gathering last week in Toronto. 

Bossé has been teaching at Fredericton High School for 22 years and has also been the Fine Arts Department Head for 20 years.

Don Bosse/MusiCounts

The MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award recognizes the dedicated music teachers in Canada who help keep music alive for so many young Canadians. Each year, the award is sponsored or presented by an artist, including: The Rolling Stones, Michael Bublé, Céline Dion, Shania Twain, Tragically Hip, Anne Murray, Billy Talent, Johnny Reid, Gord Bamford, and Magic!. This year’s award was presented by Rush.

MusiCounts/Barry Roden photo

Bossé receives a $10,000 cheque, a contribution to Fredericton's school music program, an all-expense paid trip to the 2016 JUNO Awards, and a solid crystal statuette based on the JUNO Award design created by Canadian glass artist, the late Shirley Elford.

Rush members Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson surprised Bossé, who is a fan of the band, while he was in Toronto last week for a private shopping experience at Holt Renfrew Men for his JUNO red carpet-ready suit..

At the surprise presentation to Bossé, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson spoke about the reasons they chose to support this award. “When everything you have in life has come from the fountain of music, you want to spread that around and you want to encourage others,” said Lee. “Music is a fantastic way to enrich your life and to express yourself, so to encourage teachers to help young people find that in themselves is a very noble cause.” “It’s also way more fun than math,” added Lifeson.

Bossé is the founder of The Saint Thomas University Jazz Ensemble. He also designed and oversees a professional quality recording studio for students learning recording and sound design at Fredericton High School

Last March, Don was presented with the 2015 Lieutenant-Governor’s New Brunswick Youth Orchestra Award for his leadership in the musical development of youth in New Brunswick

Bossé's mother Dora still lives in Madawaska.