SLC's Sister Lorna Zemke receives International Katalin Forrai Award

Posted On June 29, 2015

Music experts from around the globe came to Silver Lake College to honor Sister Lorna Zemke with the 2015 International Katalin Forrai Award, which is bestowed upon those with distinguished careers in Early Childhood Music Education.

Sister Lorna, a longtime music professor at Silver Lake College, was presented with the award on June 28 during the opening dinner for the 2015 Kodály Summer Music Program.

“It’s definitely an honor, because Katalin Forrai, for whom the award was named, was one of the most influential early childhood music educators in the world during her lifetime,” Sister Lorna said.

“It’s an exciting moment in the history of Silver Lake College,” said Dr. Rachel Ware Carlton, Silver Lake College’s Division Director for Graduate and Undergraduate Music. “Sister Lorna has contributed so much in the field of early childhood music education, and to see this recognized internationally is only fitting.”

The evening celebrated Sister Lorna and Sister Marella Wagner, each of whom received professor emeritus status earlier this year.

Dr. Gilbert DeGreeve of Antwerp, Belgium, presented Sister Lorna with the award. Taking part in the awards ceremony were International Katalin Forrai Award committee members Mary Place (chair), Betsy Moll and Mary Stouffer. Also participating was Kelly Foster Griffin, immediate past president of the Organization of American Kodály Educators.

An orientation for Kodály Summer Music Program students followed.

In addition to Sister Lorna, Kodály certificate faculty members include Dr. John Feierabend (chair), Dr. Frank Gallo and Dr. Brent Gault. Additional graduate faculty included Lillie Feierbend, Donna Gallo, Teresa Schroepfer, Dr. Diana Shapiro, Ware Carlton and Lynne Zimmermann.

The Katalin Forrai award was established in 2011 to further the principles and teaching objectives of the late Katalin Forrai, an outstanding early music educator in Hungary selected by Zoltan Kodály to lead early childhood and elementary music programs in Hungary. Kodály developed the Kodály Method of experiential music education.

The award helps promote international awareness of the importance of high-quality early childhood music education and helps recognize the achievements of teachers who are providing the highest quality music education in early childhood settings.

Sister Lorna is in her 44th year at Silver Lake College, where she was long-time Director of the Kodály Programs and Director of Graduate Music Studies. She now chairs the thesis committee for Master of Music students.

In addition to the Kodály programs, Sister Lorna is responsible for developing two other well-known programs - "Music For Tots” and “Lovenotes: Music For The Unborn.”

Sister Lorna said she is a firm believer in offering music to children as early as possible to enhance their cultural, emotional, cognitive, social and developmental levels. She has taught Kodály workshops and presented at conferences in 27 states and five other countries. She has given presentations at more than 100 colleges and educational institutions throughout the United States, and has published numerous articles and books.

Sister Lorna earned her Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from Silver Lake College and holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Music Education from the University of Southern California. She studied in Hungary for six months, doing research for her Doctoral dissertation, among the first on the Kodály concept written in English.

She is an honorary lifetime member of the international, national and Midwest Kodály societies. She was cofounder of the Association of Wisconsin Area Kodály Educators, among the first state Kodály associations. She was one of five Americans selected to be a member of the group, which eventually founded the international Kodály Society with their Hungarian counterparts. She was a founding member of the American Kodály Association. She also co-chaired the inaugural national Kodály conference, which convened in Milwaukee.