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July 9, 2015, Chicago – Karen Dai, a 2015 graduate of the Lab School of Chicago, is the first recipient of the newly created Sister Marjorie Delaplane Achievement in Music  (AIM) Award from the Chicago Area Music Teachers Association (CAMTA).

Through CAMTA’s AIM Program, music students in the Chicago area study and must pass exams that cover theory, aural skills, and performance. The Sister Marjorie Delaplane Award is given to music students who complete the requirements for Level 12, the highest music level offered through CAMTA, and earn a minimum score of 85 in both theory and performance. The award recipients receive a stipend of $150 in recognition of their hard work.

“It appears that Karen is a very worthy winner of this award, with scores of 94 for the theory exam and 95 for the performance exam,” said Mary Clare Barker, vice president of membership for CAMTA. “Sister Marjorie would be very proud of her accomplishments.”

Karen’s music teacher for the past three years, Erica Tam-Wang, said Karen will be attending Stanford University in the Fall, majoring in biology or another science, but will continue with her music. Her performance for the AIM program included the Allemande and Gigue from the French Suite No. 5 in G Major by Bach; the first movement from the Tempest Sonata by Beethoven; and a Nocturne in F Major by Chopin. Karen’s teacher described her as a “self-motivating, responsible, kind, and hard-working student” and a member of the National Youth Orchestra.

The award was named in memory of Sister Marjorie Delaplane, OP, who died suddenly on July 4, 2014. Sister Marjorie taught music at four of the Congregation’s schools: Aquinas Dominican High School, Chicago; Mount St. Mary Academy, St. Charles, Illinois; Regina Dominican High School, Wilmette, Illinois; and Dominican High School in Detroit, as well as at Bishop Muldoon High School in Rockford, Illinois.

After studying under internationally known pianist Jorge Bolet at Indiana University, Sister Marjorie gave music education concerts at various schools around the country. She returned to her native Chicago in 1972, where she taught piano at various institutions. Since 1982, she taught at Sherwood Conservatory of Music in Chicago and, in recent years, at her own studio at Regina Dominican.

A member of CAMTA for 35 years, Sister Marjorie served as judge in the AIM program; at one time chaired the Technique Festival; participated in numerous events for the students; and once gave a lecture on Baroque improvisation.

Sister Marjorie was “a very kind and generous person,” Ms. Barker said. “It is only fitting to associate Sister Marjorie’s name with this high level award, since she was such an accomplished musician in her own right.”




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