A woman who has brought musical education to Langley for almost 40 years was surprised Tuesday with a major community service award.
Susan Magnusson was named the H.D. Stafford Good Citizen of the Year at the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas dinner.
A startled looking Magnusson was called up to the stage to accept the honour, given annually to someone who gives of their own time and energy to make Langley a better place.
Magnusson joined several previous winners on stage, including Dale Ball, Sylvia Anderson, Tim Lounsbury, Marlene Grinnell, Jim McGregor, and David Esworthy.
“This is truly a great honour to join this prestigious group of good citizens,” Magnusson said.
She was lucky enough to turn a passion for music into a career, and through that to meet people and make a difference, she said.
Magnusson first moved to Langley in the early 1970s.
She said she read in the Langley Advance about an open house at the Langley Community Music School, and as the holder of a music degree, she was interested and pleasantly surprised.
When one of the LCMS founders had to take medical leave not long after, Magnusson joined the school, teaching in the evenings while keeping her full-time job in Vancouver by day.
After a while, she quit her old job to devote herself full-time to work at the school.
In 2001 she became the principal when they moved into their new facility on 207th Street.
Over the years she has built up an impressive list of achievements, from having a student perform at Carnegie Hall, to her work with numerous local boards, committees, and community groups.
Chamber president Angie Quaale listed some of the projects that Magnusson has been a part of: co-director of ceremonies for the 2010 BC Summer Games, service on the board of Tourism Langley, a founding member of the Langley Jazz Festival, involvement with Langley Literacy, and a director of On-Stage Langley.
Magnusson said she and the music school have done well because of the support of the community for music and the arts.
Art is sometimes considered a non-essential in modern life, Magnusson said.
“But in my opinion, it makes a healthy community,” she said.
She’s hoping to continue adding programs and bursaries at the music school to provide more education, for both children and adults.
“There’s never a dull moment,” Magnusson said.