posted April 14, 2003

Roberta Kraft Honored as State Music "Teacher of the Year"

Roberta Kraft of the Hope College music faculty has been named the "Teacher of the Year" by the Michigan Music Teachers Association (MMTA).

She will be honored on Friday, May 9, during a reception and dinner held in conjunction with the Michigan Youth Arts Festival at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

It is the second major honor that Kraft has received from the MMTA during the current school year. She received a Distinguished Service Award from the association on Monday, Oct. 21, during the group's state convention.

She had previously received area recognition for teaching excellence. The Holland chapter of the MMTA named her the local "Teacher of the Year" in 1995.

"Roberta Kraft has been a valued member of our staff for many years," said longtime Hope colleague Dr. Stuart Sharp, professor of music and chair of the department. "Her work with the keyboard skills program has helped many music majors to develop their practical keyboard skills and her dedication to the class piano offerings has encouraged many students to include the study of piano as part of their general studies at Hope College."

"In addition, Roberta has served as accompanist for many student and faculty recitals and she has contributed strong leadership as the director of our accompaniment services within the department," he said. "It has been a pleasure to work with someone who so easily reflects the joy and commitment of a life dedicated to the art of music and to serving others."

Kraft has taught at Hope since 1975, and maintains a private studio. She also performs actively with Hope students and faculty, as well as with her husband, George, with whom she has given roughly 300 programs.

Her association with the MMTA began through the local chapter, Holland Piano Teachers Forum, which was established in 1969 and of which she was a charter member. The chapter affiliated with the state organization in 1971- 72, during the first of three terms that she has served the Holland chapter as president.

Kraft was president of the MMTA from 1998 to 2000, previously serving as vice president for two years. Her activity at the state level has also included serving on the MMTA's 30-member Board of Directors as chair of Student Achievement Testing (SAT) Auditions.

She began her involvement with the Student Achievement Testing program through the local chapter. The program now tests more than 4,000 preparatory students throughout the state, stressing not only performances but also music theory, aural awareness, technique and sight- reading. She was local chair of SAT testing for five years.

Kraft has taught public school in the Junction City, Kan., Holland and Saugatuck-Douglas school systems. She is a performing member of St. Cecilia Music Society of Grand Rapids, and a member of the American Guild of Organists and The National Guild.

She earned her bachelor of music education degree at Wheaton College and a master of music degree at Indiana University.

The MMTA has approximately 900 members, who are teachers at colleges and universities or teach in private studios. The MMTA is one of the largest of the 50 state organizations affiliated with the Music Teachers National Association, which has 24,000 members.

The MMTA was founded in 1885. The association seeks to promote and encourage the understanding, appreciation and study of the art of music; to elevate the economic and artistic standards of teachers of music; and to promote a closer professional fraternity.