Dorothy Brealey

Memorial Scholarship

Dorothy May Brealey was born on June 23rd 1914 in Vancouver. She was one of four children of the late Gordon Wismer and his wife. She grew up in Vancouver’s West End in the sometimes boisterous social household of a politically active and successful criminal lawyer and one time attorney general of British Columbia. She earned her Associate in music in both Teaching and Performance and then studied piano for five years after that.

Dorothy Wismer and Don Brealey were married in Vancouver on June 7th 1940 and had two children – son Christopher and daughter Nikki. In 1951 they moved to Campbell River just as the Crown Zellerbach mill was starting up. Dorothy soon began teaching piano in 1956 and as the town grew so did her class of students, comprising a larger extension of her family, all of whom she was very proud. She never stopped playing for her own pleasure and was always coming home with stacks of new music.

Quotes by Dorothy Brealey:
“I can’t not play the piano although for several years when my children were small I didn’t play as much.”
“If a teacher only taught those who were best at piano she would find herself with no students after a while.”
“Adults are similar to children as far as learning piano except their hands don’t always do as they want.”
“A will to work is important.”
“My preference in composers depends on my mood. I used to like music with lots of runs and big chords but now I prefer Baroque composers.”

Dorothy’s other passion was gardening.
Some of her former students have become prominent piano teachers and one former student has her own music publishing business as a composer and arranger of music for elementary school choir and high school band, as well as developing a curriculum for the elementary school teacher to teach classroom music.

This article was fondly written by Dorothy’s former student Cindy Taylor.

Scholarship Recipients
2020 Michael Robert
2019 Julie Matsuzawa
2018 Towa Stewart
2017 no applicants
2016 Heather Spetifore
2015 Rafaelle Matheson
2014 No applicants
2013 Carter Johnson
2012 Matthew Krell
2012 Jarod Ben-Oliel
2011 No applications
2010 Nathan Krell
2009 Ryan Krell
2008 Amelia Koebel
2007 Kendra Finlay
2006 Jennifer Mitchell
2005 Kevin Ngo
2004 Michelle Offerhaus
2004 Matthew Blackburn
2003 Graeme Roset
2002 Nicole Taylor
2001 Cheryl Offerhaus
2000 Paula Gansner
1999 Tara Eamer
1998 Erin Lahay
1997 Heather Wilson
1996 Jennifer Tuttle
1995 Gwen Murtonen (Peever)
1994 Dianne Mason
1993 John Trotter
1992 Ronni Pakosz (Burgess)
1991 Tanya Unger
1990 Jocelyn Brookes
1988 Chris Andrew
1987 Steve Silman
1986 Ron Bennie