LOIS BIRKENSHAW-FLEMING

Obituary
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  • "Dear Lois you were such an inspiring mentor to us all,as..."
    - Sharon Smith-Miller
  • "Lois was the most gracious and delightful guest in South..."
  • "Lois was a fantastic lady, a consummate music educator in..."
    - Judy Sills
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    - Marlene Hinz
  • "Lois laisse aux musiciens ducateurs une mne d'or ..."
    - Marcelle Corneille
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LOIS BIRKENSHAW-FLEMING October 8, 1928 - March 11, 2015 Lois Fleming, at 86 years. Her parents were Frank and Kate Sutherland, who were the first to foster her passion for music and any event that encouraged music in education. Lois had three children: Susan Birkenshaw (Michael Keith), David Birkenshaw and Douglas Birkenshaw (Ginger Sorbara). Through her second marriage (Kip Fleming - predeceased) she was the proud step-mom of Pam Rowcliffe (Paul) and Andrew Fleming. She was also the very proud grandmother of David's children - Geoffrey, Hilary and Caroline Birkenshaw, and of Douglas' children - Alex, Sam and Augustus Birkenshaw and of Pam and Paul's children - Emily and Mac. She was predeceased by Susan's daughter - Victoria (Tori) Jewell. Lois will be remembered for her positive and open character that welcomed one and all for who they were, without judgement and with great cheer. Her house, her cottage, her classes were oasis of challenge, conversation and compassion and above-all understanding. A graduate of the University of Toronto and The Royal Conservatory of Music, Lois studied the Orff approach at The Royal Conservatory and in Salzburg Austria. She was head of the Orff program for the Toronto Board of Education and taught courses in Orff General Music Education and Music for Children Who Have Special Needs at York University in Toronto. Lois was also the Course Director of the Orff Teachers Course at The Royal Conservatory of Music. Lois lived a life that was filled with music - as a writer, composer, teacher, and teacher's mentor she made a lasting impression on her students. As an internationally recognized music educator, author and Orff Specialist, Lois was a powerful force in the field of music education and special needs education. She positively influenced early childhood educators, generalist teachers, music teachers and most importantly hundreds of thousands of children with her work at The Royal Conservatory of Music and the former Toronto Board of Education. Travelling extensively she has given workshops and courses in every province in Canada, most of the 50 States across the United States, in France, Great Britain, Finland and South Africa. Her legacy lives on in the many teachers she has mentored as she meandered around the world. Lois has written many articles and is the author of Music For Fun Music For Learning (Appronons par la musique), The Goat with the Bright Red Socks, Musictime K-6, Come on Everybody Let's sing, (Epanouissons-nous par la musique) and Music For All. She edited An Orff Mosaic from Canada/Orff au Canada: une mosaique and co-authored two books using music to help profoundly deaf children learn to talk and sing. Along the way Lois received many accolades. She is a Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music, an honourary member of the Ontario Music Educators Association and Carl Orff Canada and has received the Jubilate award from the Canadian Music Educators Association. It is her request that all of her book rights and royalties be transferred to The Royal Conservatory of Music, specifically for Conservatory's Smart Start program. She continued to work on this program focused on early childhood music education, up until her illness. In lieu of flowers and in honour of Lois - your additional donations may be sent to (and made out to) The Royal Conservatory of Music for the Smart Start Program at The TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1W2. The RCM charitable registration number is 10793 5413 RR0001. A memorial celebration honouring Lois' long and varied life will be held at 2:30 p.m. on March 20, 2015 in the Mazzoleni Hall located at The Royal Conservatory of Music at 273 Bloor Street West. Cremation has taken place.

Published in the Toronto Star from Mar. 13 to Mar. 16, 2015