Jeanette Steeves is a Graduate in Music of the University of Western Ontario, and is an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto and Conservatory Canada. She studied Advanced Choral Conducting and Accompanying at the Kodaly Institute in Hungary.
Jeanette has worked with choirs at school church and community levels. Her choirs have achieved highest standing in provincial, national and international competition. In fact, she is in her 43rd year of conducting community choirs in Saugeen Shores on a voluntary non-paid basis.
In 1974 Jeanette founded the Port Elgin Centennial Singers to celebrate the centenary of the town of Port Elgin. She conducted this choir for 10 years and it continues today with a membership of 65 singers under the direction of Anne Little. It is now known as the "Chantry Singers".
In 1985 Jeanette founded the "Children's Festival Chorus': a choir of about 50 elementary and secondary students. This chorus won gold medals in International Music Festival Competitions in Montreal in 1990 and in London England in 1992. "Children's Festival Chorus" continued to run for 15 years.
Then in 2013, continuing her efforts to foster choral music in our town, Jeanette and a colleague founded the "Allegro Youth Chorus': a growing children's choir currently with over 30 members.
Jeanette was also the founding director of the choral components of both Kincardine Summer Music and Southampton Summer Music, and, for three years, was the choral director of the National Music Camp of Canada.
In 1995 Jeanette founded the “A Cappella Chamber Choir" of Saugeen Shores. Just a few years later, A Cappella won the top award for community choirs in the National Music Festivals of Canada Competition.
Choir singing creates bonds and friendships. Several singers in A Cappella sang with Jeanette as Centennial Singers in the 1970s and 1980s. The culmination of Jeanette’s directorship of community choirs occurred on November 5, 2016 with a final concert entitled “The Gift of Music”.
Mrs. Steeves, as her students know her, has maintained a vocal studio for several years. Many of her former students now teach music or perform nationally and internationally in the fields of opera and jazz.
Jeanette was on the Port Elgin town council from 1972 to 1974 and was chairman of the First Nations Village Restoration Project in Nodwell Park.
In 1996, Jeanette was the recipient of the "Ontario Choral Federation Award for Distinguished Service". She has twice received Paul Harris Fellowships, nominated by the Rotary Clubs of Southampton and Port Elgin for outstanding service to the community. She was also one of the original inductees to the Port Elgin Hall of Fame, nominated as a community builder. Jeanette received the first "Lake Huron Award for Musical Excellence" for founding the Children's Festival Chorus, the A Cappella Chamber Choir and the Port Elgin Centennial Singers.
Jeanette has been the recipient of several additional community awards:
In 1987, the Community Service Award was presented by the town of Port Elgin.
In 1990, an award recognizing leadership of the Children's Festival Chorus, was presented to her by the Township of Bruce.
In 1994 awards from both towns of Port Elgin and Southampton "in recognition of years of service and commitment to youth" were also given.
Jeanette was recently honoured with the "Saugeen Shores Heritage Conservation Award" presented in the Council Chambers.
She would like to recognize all of the singers in the community who have contributed to the excellence in choral music.