Linda Witchie Named 2021 IMTA Teacher of the Year

Linda Larson Witchie, NCTM, with a degree in Piano Performance from the University of Colorado – Boulder and a Masters in Piano Performance from University of Michigan, was President of the South Bend Area Music Teachers Association from 1997-1999 and again in 2016-2018. In 1999, she was honored as “Member of the Year” by SBAMTA.

Throughout her involvement with SBAMTA, Linda has served in various capacities including President, Vice-President, Program Chair, and Treasurer, and most recently as Community Engagement Coordinator to bring music education to the forefront in the greater Michiana area. She created a link with the South Bend Symphony wherein Stickley Piano Competition Winners play in the lobby before concerts, obtained vouchers giving free symphony admission to local students, created a presence at the local Art Beat Festival, and an information booth at the Halloween festivities at the local Zoo. As a program director and advisor, she has brought in multiple grants allowing us to bring in well-known presenters and clinicians such as Randy Faber, Melody Bober, Catherine Rollin, Jane McGrath, Robert Vandall and Marvin Blickenstaff.

Linda was an Adjunct faculty member at IUSB and adjunct lecturer of music at St. Mary’s College and has been instrumental in numerous festivals and recitals. She has been a member of Indiana Music Teachers Association for more than 30 years and served as State Composition Chair of that organization for two years.  Linda is a nationally certified member of Music Teachers National Association, earning her “Permanent Professional” status in October of 2007.  She was also a faculty member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers. Linda piloted new piano teaching materials for Faber & Faber of F.J.H. Publishing for more than twenty years.  She also served as both Consulting Editor and New Publication Evaluator for F.J.H. Publishing from 1992-2003. She has spent the last 25 years either chairing or on the committee for the annual Stickley Piano Competition and has been very active with the Stickley Scholarship Fund since its establishment 28 years ago.

Modest and unassuming, Linda has a private studio that has consistently produced winners and honorable mentions at the annual Stickley Piano Competition every year for the past 20 years! Linda provides a steadying voice of reason, is always quick with helpful information, and is even quicker with a thank you. It is a marvel to see so much energy expended for music education across multiple decades while raising a family of her own. Her colleagues at SBAMTA find it a real pleasure to serve with Linda Witchie in the profession of music teaching.

Cheryl Everett Awarded 2021 IMTA Distinguished Service Award

In addition to teaching piano and organ at Wabash College, Cheryl Everett is accompanist for the Glee Club and the Music Department. With the Glee Club, she has concertized throughout the United States, England, Scotland, Wales, Ecuador, and Taiwan.

Ms. Everett has performed as soloist and chamber musician in recitals and master classes at International Workshops in Austria, Canada, England, France, Italy, Switzerland, and the Teachers’ Program of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Music Teachers National Association has recognized Ms. Everett as a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music and the Indiana Music Teachers Association honored her as one of their “Teachers of the Year”. For many years she was IMTA Ensemble Concert Chair and State Convention Chair.

In 2021, Ms. Everett received the Distinguished Service Award from the Indiana Music Teachers Association to recognize her outstanding service to IMTA and the profession of music teaching. Many of her former students currently have careers as piano teachers and music therapists.

In addition to collegiate responsibilities, Ms. Everett is Director of the Young Hoosier State Piano Competition for piano students ages 5-22. This competition, sponsored by the Indiana State Fair and Piano Solutions, had over 500 student participants in 2019. Piano Solutions recently named their concert hall “The Cheryl Everett Performance Room” in honor of her work with the youth of Indiana.

Ms. Everett has been a church organist for over 50 years and is currently serving at First United Methodist Church in Crawfordsville, IN. Ms. Everett studied piano performance with Dr. Louis Nagel at the University of Michigan. Her major musical influence was Dorothy Munger, a student of Guy Maier, Rosina Lhevinne, and Josef Lhevinne. Mrs. Munger was a pianist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for 32 years.

Dr. Lori Rhoden Awarded IMTA Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award is a very special award that is given at the discretion of the IMTA State President and presented on rare occasions to recognize outstanding service to IMTA. Recipients receive a plaque, a lifetime waiver of state dues, and will be featured in a post on the IMTA Website.

Dr. Lori Rhoden was awarded the Distinguished Service Award this past weekend at the IMTA State Conference.

Dr. Rhoden has been a member of MTNA since 1993 and of Indiana MTA since 1999. Prior to coming to Indiana, she was a member of Georgia and South Georgia MTA’s. She first started on the state board as Editor of the Indiana Music Teacher Newsletter (yes, the PRINT edition of the newsletter) and served in that role from 1999-2004. In 2001 she started the Ball State Collegiate Chapter – and in 2002 she became the Collegiate Chapters chair – both positions of which she still holds to this day.

In 2004 she served a three-year term as state President and, as is the process, was a trustee following for an additional six years.

Rhoden has always been a strong advocate for this organization. Not only has she encouraged many graduate students and helped them see the value of being an active part of the organization, but she has advocated for and perhaps even “bugged” many University faculty trying to get more collegiate chapters going in the state.

Dr. Rhoden is a tenured professor of Music Performance at Ball State University and regularly attends and presents at both National and State Conferences. Not only does she impact students at Ball State, but since 2002, she has been part of the piano faculty at the summer international MasterWorks Festival and has been the Piano Program Director for MasterWorks since 2006.

This year marks 20 years of service that Lori has given to IMTA. She has been and is still a highly valued part of the Indiana Music Teachers Association Board of Directors.

Former recipients include Jack Eaton (1995), Verna Abe, Carolyn Hertzler, and Karen Thickstun (2002), Juliana Lockman (2005), Margaret Roby (2014), and Douglas Sperry (2018)

Pictured below from left to right is Douglas Sperry (2018), Karen Thickstun (2002), Lori Rhoden (2019), Juliana Lockman (2005), and Margy Roby (2014).

Registration is Now Open for the 2019 State Conference!

We are pleased to announce that registration is now OPEN for the 2019 IMTA State Conference!

Visit the conference page to register and to view all the information you need for the conference including:

  • Hotels and Parking (it has been recommended attendees book early as hotels are busy that weekend!
  • Schedule
  • Featured guest artists:
    • Drew Peterson, Concert Artist
    • Meagan Johnson, Alexander Technique
    • Benjamin Dean Taylor, Commissioned Composer

Options are available for both online and check payments.

Nominations Now Being Accepted for 2019 Teacher of the Year

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019 Indiana MTA Teacher of the Year. This award is given annually at the State Conference and is one of IMTA’s highest honors.

This award recognizes an individual who demonstrates excellence in teaching and service to the music teaching profession and community.  Recipients are nominated by current members (individuals and/or local associations) and selected by the Teacher of the Year Chair and State President.

To see a list of all past recipients as well as details for submission, please click here.


IMTA Teacher of the Year winners at the 2018 State Conference at Sweetwater. From left to right: Lori Rhoden 2010), Margy Roby (2005), Reginald Rodgers (2004), Jim Helton (2016), Euni Rickey (2017), Marylee Morton (2018), Juliana Lockman (2014), Hamilton Tescarollo (2015), Karen Thickstun (2008), Cheryl Everett (1999)~Anonymous IMTA Member who nominated a fellow colleague


MTNA Competition Winners Headed to National

James Helton, MTNA Competitions Chair

Here are the Indiana Winners that passed through ECD and are headed to the National Finals this weekend!! Please wish them luck in Spokane, and stop by to hear their performances if you can.

Young Artist Piano
Dominic Muzzi – student of Robert Plano

Young Artist Strings
Elina Rubio Pentcheva, violin – student of Mauricio Fuks

Stay on the lookout for the results of the Young Artist Composition Competition. Our representative, Katherine Bodor (student of Don Freund), had no competition at the division level, so she went directly to the national finals. Her piece will be performed if she wins.

Marylee Morton named 2018 IMTA Teacher of the Year

Marylee Morton, an independent piano teacher from Fort Wayne Indiana was named the 2018 IMTA Teacher of the Year at the IMTA State Conference. Morton is a member of the Northeast Indiana Music Teacher’s Association (NIMTA).

2017 recipient Euni Rickey awarding 2018 recipient Marylee Morton

IMTA Teacher of the Year winners from left to right: Lori Rhoden 2010), Margy Roby (2005), Reginald Rodgers (2004), Jim Helton (2016), Euni Rickey (2017), Marylee Morton (2018), Juliana Lockman (2014), Hamilton Tescarollo (2015), Karen Thickstun (2008), Cheryl Everett (1999)


Douglas Sperry Honored with the IMTA Distinguished Service Award

IMTA Honored Douglas Sperry at the 2018 IMTA State Conference at Sweetwater Sound with the Distinguished Service Award. This award is a very special award that is given at the discretion of the IMTA State President and presented on rare occasion to recognize outstanding service to IMTA. Former recipients include Jack Eaton (1995), Verna Abe, Carolyn Hertzler, and Karen Thickstun (2002), Juliana Lockman (2005), and Margaret Roby (2014).

Doug Sperry receiving the Distinguished Service Award from IMTA President Amy Chaplin

Doug has been teaching private piano lessons since he was 15 years old. The only significant break he has taken from independent teaching was during the past year when he was undergoing aggressive treatment for cancer. His music degrees are a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Nebraska Wesleyan University, a Master of Music in piano performance from Michigan State University, and all the work except dissertation for a Ph.D. in Theory, Music History, and Piano, also from Michigan State University.

The beginning of his college teaching career in music was interrupted by the birth of his first child, Ethan, and a subsequent commitment to be the primary caregiver for his children (Emma was born seven years later). During these years while continuing to teach piano he also completed a Masters degree in Psychology at Catholic University. With the move to Terre Haute, he taught psychology courses at ISU and conducted research with his wife, Linda, who is also a psychologist on the faculty there. Later, at the age of 50 (when Emma headed off to college) he started his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at the University of Illinois. While there he was a National Scholar Foundation recipient and was hired to teach at St. Mary of the Woods College outside Terre Haute.

Doug is currently a tenured Associate Professor at St. Mary’s where he also plays the organ for school ceremonies! With the return of his health, he has been able to return to piano teaching. Through all the years of leading this “double” life as a pianist and psychologist, he has guided countless piano students in their studies and in their “growing up”. He has also been generous to colleagues with fulfilling leadership positions in the Wabash Valley Music Teachers Association (ten years as its president) and with his countless hours of administrations at the state level for the AIM auditions program.

Previous Distinguished Award Winners, from left to right: Karen Thickstun (2002), Douglas Sperry (2018), Juliana Lockman (2005), Margy Roby (2014).