GCMTA History


In 1971, a small group of piano teachers on the Mississippi Gulf Coast began to gather “unofficially” at each other’s homes monthly to discuss music and meet about their students. They began to plan recitals and other events together. Those teachers were Vincentine Piazza (Williams), Sue Tillman, Margaret Shaw, and Jeanie Pollard. At one point, they talked about holding a recital just for boys, since there seemed to be so few of them among the teachers. The first recital featured fourteen students and the teachers decided on their title for obvious reasons – “Boys Piano Recital.”

It was in 1972 that the Gulf Coast Piano Teachers Association was officially formed. Over the next few years, they attracted the attention of other teachers, and several more joined their group. Among these teachers were Joyce Stallings, Henry Wills, John Erickson, Bertha Giani, Mary Fiorenza, Sue Hover, Hilda Barnes, Kathleen Asher, Princess Whitecloud, Mamie Stockstill, Gigi Sikes, and Lauraine Power. As they grew they became more purposeful, planning student recitals and exploring workshops for teacher enrichment.

The first Gulf Coast Piano Festival (now called Gulf Coast Music Festival) took place in 1974. In those days the adjudication was on Saturday and the Honors Recital was held the next day, on Sunday. Now the event takes place on one day, with the Honors Recitals running concurrently with the adjudications, and it is now open to all music students.  The association has expanded to include more than just piano students and teachers, and was re-named the Gulf Coast Music Teachers Association. In 1984, the organization drafted its first constitution, and at the Mississippi Music Teachers Association (MMTA) state convention in November they became an official local affiliate of MMTA and the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA.)

Association Facts

(Formerly known as the Gulf Coast Piano Teachers Association)

Dec 16, 1972            First All-Boys Recital; four teachers

Dec 15, 1973            Second Boys Recital

Jan 1974                   Gulf Coast Piano Teachers Association Monthly Recitals begin

May 1974                   First Gulf Coast Piano Festival

Sept 1974                  Sylvia Zarimba recital/workshop

April 1979                 First MMTA Pre-college Auditions held on the Coast

April 1979                 First State Special Recognition Recitals (SSRR) held; winners                                         perform at State Convention

Sept 1981                  James Fry workshop

May 1980                   Dr. John Murphy master class

Oct. 1983                   Bush recital and workshop

Sept. 22, 1984           Nagode workshop

Fall 1986                    Association Logo designed by Lee Hood of Long Beach

Nov. 1985                   First Ensemble Festival  

June 7, 1984              First Association Constitution adopted

Sept 1984                  MMTA approves GCPTA as affiliate

Nov 1984                   Approval by MTNA and MMTA as  Local Affiliate officially                                              announced at State Convention

GCMTA Student State Winners

GCPTA winners at SSRR State Finals

1979 – Karen Schutzmann (Level VIII)

1980 – Nancy Mize Sneed (Level III)

1984 – Beth Schussler (Original Composition)

1985 – Kate Pyron (Level V and Division D Sonata/Sonatina)

1986 – Annie Ly (Level III)

            Meg Ragland (Division E Sonata/Sonatina)

1987 – Dan Burton (Level VIII)

             Laura Simnicht (Division E Sonata/Sonatina)

             Christopher Delgado and Annie Ly  (Division C Ensemble)

1988 – Derek Irby (Level VIII)

             Stacie Hensley and Jenny Smith  (Division B Ensemble)