UMTA Awards

UMTA offers awards for exemplary service. These include the Legacy Award, the AIM Teacher of the Year Award, and the Advocacy in Action Award. Looking for past winners? Find them in the UMTA Archives.

​UMTA Awards 2018–2019 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.


Cindy Hartley, NCTM
Cindy Hartley is the Utah MTA State Treasurer, having served since 2001. She is also the UFMC State Treasurer, having served since 2011. She has also served in the Ogden Chapter as Vice President over programs.

For 8 years, she worked as the Lowrey Organ Company Program Director at the Piano Gallery in Riverdale, UT. She worked weekly with approximately 150 Senior Citizens in the beginning music classes at the Piano Gallery. She has served as the “Yamaha, Say Yes to Music” Program Coordinator for Weber County. She has been active in the PTA, having served as the Farr West Elementary PTA President. She has also served as a Farr West Community Council Member. She continues to be active in her community and church service. She served for 18 months as a proselyting/welfare service missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Guayaquil, Ecuador. While serving there, she and her companion were asked to write a basic music program to teach music/piano lessons. Years later, that program was expanded by the church and is now taught world-wide in many languages. She began piano lessons at age 7 and continued on through her college years. She became a Nationally Certified Music Teacher through MTNA in November 2015. Cindy has taught piano for over 35 years and continues to teach today. She and her husband, Dan, have been married for 33 years and live in Farr West, UT. They are the proud parents of 5 children. They are Nana and Papa to 4 adorable grandchildren. Cindy said, "Many years ago, I was encouraged by a friend to join UMTA. It has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. It has impacted every aspect of my music career, enhancing my teaching and therefore benefiting my students. Perhaps, my greatest sense of accomplishment comes from the many students who have gone on the become teachers, directly impacting the minds and lives of others."


Elizabeth Lund, NCTM
Elizabeth Lund graduated with honors from the University of Utah with a degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy where she was a student of Solveig Lunde Madsen. She has had a varied career in music as a soloist, ensemble performer and accompanist for vocalists and instrumentalists, including numerous choral, dance and theatre productions. Some highlights include playing the organ at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, accompanying the late Robert Petersen on “To Dream the Impossible Dream,” rocking the Assembly Hall with the Ivory Piano Quartet on “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” and being the pianist for operettas at Promised Valley Play House and Theatre 138.

She maintains a private piano studio in Salt Lake City and is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music with Music Teachers National Association. She has served on the board of Utah Music Teachers Association as Certification Chair, MTNA Foundation Chair, and MTNA Instrumental Performance Competition Chair. She has also served in numerous positions of Salt Lake Chapter UMTA including President, Vice President over programs, and Student Achievement Chair (AIM).

She is a member and past President of the Salt Lake Alumni Chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon, Professional Music Fraternity and currently serves on the Honors Recital Committee of the Salt Lake Area Piano, Utah Federation of Music Clubs. She is also the mother of four children who comprise a string quartet. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, reading, going for long walks and being grammy to two perfect grandchildren.

​UMTA Awards 2018–2019 AIM Teacher of the Year

The AIM Teacher of the Year Award is sponsored by the State AIM Committee and was created to recognize teachers who have been exemplary in their contributions to, achievement in, and dedication to the AIM program for 5 years or more.


Suann Adams
Suann Adams does not remember ever learning to play the piano. By the time she began formal lessons, she was already playing fairly difficult repertoire. Maggie Gammel accepted Suann as a piano student when she was 9 years old. She has studied with with John C. Weis, Mary Rae Johnson, Reid Nibley, N. Jane Tan, Paul Pollei, and Seymour Bernstein.

Suann accompanied many choirs and musicals, played horn in many symphonies, and won top honors in various festivals on both piano and horn while going through school. She was the first runner up in music at the State Sterling Scholar competition for Utah in 1981.

Suann studied music, organ, and horn at BYU for five and one-half years, majoring in composition, she won an ASCAP award for composition. She was featured soloist on horn with the BYU concert band and toured with many different orchestras, including a trip with one of the first American groups to be allowed into China, the BYU Chamber Orchestra.

Suann runs a very successful music studio where she offers training in piano, french horn, organ, voice, pedagogy, composition, and music theory. She is one of the top five piano team specialists in the country, having received her training from N. Jane Tan.

Suann performs in the New American Philharmonic Orchestra, played in the pit orchestra for the Utah Musical Theatre for 10 years or more, and is a founding member of the Rocky Mountain Piano Team. She founded the annual Utah Piano Team Festival and has been AIM chair for the Ogden Chapter of the UMTA.

​UMTA Awards 2018–2019 Advocacy Through Action Award Winner

The Advocacy through Action Award is a way for the Utah Music Teachers Association to honor community service in the arts throughout Utah. The award is presented to a UMTA member, UMTA chapter, community member, or organization, who has exemplified exceptional dedication to the betterment of Utah's music and arts culture. The recipient(s) must have made a significant and lasting impact on the overall music community, and embody the virtues bestowed on an award recipient.

During her teaching career, Deborah Moench has created a legacy of excellence that has directly impacted hundreds of students, as well as, teachers, and audiences. Deborah began playing at age 9, and taught her first students at age 11. She was chosen as Teacher of the Year by the Utah chapter of the American String Teachers Association and Program Chair for the 2012 Suzuki Association of the Americas Conference. Her acclaim as a teacher was due to hard work and many hours of study with master teachers, Hiroko Primrose, who introduced her to the “Any Child Can” philosophy of Shinichi Suzuki.

She traveled to Matsumoto, Japan to be mentored by Dr. Suzuki and Miss Mori. She acknowledges a long list of wonderful teachers, including; William Starr, Doris Preucil, John Kendall, Linda Fiore, Gabe Bolkovsky, James Stern, and Michael McLean to name a few.

Being a “Student of Deborah Moench” has become a desired credential. From her studio have come 53 performances on Utah Symphony’s Salute to Youth and three concerto All-Star Evenings, featured soloists with the Gifted Music School Orchestra on the national radio program From the Top. Many of her students continue studies in the country’s top music schools and conservatories. Deborah’s commitment to music and arts culture is evident in her founding of the Rocky Mountain Strings (RMS) with Ramona Stirling in 1997. RMS serves to bring concerts throughout the state, as well as, serving as a musical ambassador from Utah with tours throughout Europe, Russia, and South America.

As a founding Board Member for the Gifted Music School, non-profit music school in Salt Lake City, Deborah helped create the first pre-college, full-scholarship conservatory in Utah. She worked with the GMS to found the first Suzuki Strings school in Utah, as well the Deborah Moench Suzuki Strings Teacher Training Program for professional development for educators. Her commitment to high level Suzuki pedagogy and her belief in on-going personal development as a teacher benefits not only teachers associated with GMS, but also teachers throughout the state. “Mrs. Deborah Moench is one of the great violin teachers of our generation — legendary will be the proper adjective in looking back at her life’s work.” Eugene Watanabe, Artistic Director Gifted Music School

​UMTA Awards 2018–2019 Presidential Award

UMTA WEBSITE COMMITTEE
​Thank you to the UMTA website committee: Eric Huber, Patrice Hunt, NTCM, Dr. Christie Sowby, NCTM, and Tori Dimond for your service. The members of the UMTA Website Committee spent hundreds of hours this summer to redo the UMTA website. The end result is arguably now one of the best websites for a music teachers organization in the country. UMTA awards the Presidential Service Award to the UMTA Website Committee for their dedicated service and sacrifice which will impact every UMTA member for years to come.