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Betty Scholtz Scholarship

Elizabeth “Betty” Anne MacPhail-Scholtz

May 8, 1941 – July 14, 2010,

bettyschultzBorn in Halifax, Betty MacPhail grew up in Kentville, in the beautiful Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, with
her father, mother and older twin brothers.

Although Betty studied piano and voice privately and at Acadia University, it was in the Kentville Salvation Army where she honed her skills as a pianist and choir director, and developed her personal spirituality. Her passion for life took a new turn when she became interested in musical theatre at Acadia University and the Kipawo Showboat theatre in Wolfville. Maria in “The Sound of Music” and Luisa in “The Fantasticks” became her favourite roles. (One month before she passed away, she was able to enjoy “The Fantasticks” for what was unknowingly her last time.)

Initially trained as a secretary, Betty turned to nursing studies, and worked as a nurse in Halifax until returning to Dalhousie University to earn a degree in nursing education. Teaching followed in the Yarmouth, N.S. hospital. In 1970, she left her beloved ocean province to take a position as a nursing instructor at the Orillia, Ontario

Throughout all her moves, she remained active in the Salvation Army and its musical programs, deciding finally to become an officer minister. In June 1973, she completed a two year program at the Toronto Salvation Army Training College and was assigned to lead the corps in Tillsonburg, Ontario.

schultz1There, she met and in April 1974, married Matthew Scholtz, the town library director. Initially, she worked as a nurse at the Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital, but decided instead to follow her real passion – music – by becoming a piano and voice teacher in her home, while raising her sons Stephen (b. 1977) and Andrew (b. 1980). As a voice teacher, she came to realize that her young voice students deserved to be showcased. So in 1978, she formed and directed the Rainbow Chorus of some 30 talented voices, which eventually became the Tillsonburg Youth Chorus. Aside from choral pieces, the group also performed a number of mini-musicals over the years in area churches, and as far away as Cleveland and Niagara Falls. Under her guidance, the children won numerous awards at the Woodstock Rotary Music Festival and presented two annual concerts (Christmas and May) to sell-out Tillsonburg audiences. The Youth Chorus’s last concert was held in 2002.

Her own singing talent found expression as a soloist in various venues, most often at her home church, First Baptist in Tillsonburg, and also in musical theatre, which she loved so much. The Tillsonburg Rotary musicals often afforded her lead roles, such as Anna in “The King and I” and Eliza in “My Fair Lady”, or a directing role, such as “Brigadoon”. The last Rotary Club musical she directed was one of her favourites : “The Sound of Music” in 1994. In 2000, for Theatre Tillsonburg, she directed her last musical, “The Fantasticks”, directing the musical in which she first

In recognition of her many contributions to the cultural life of the community, Betty was named Citizen of the Year in 1993 by the Tillsonburg Chamber of Commerce.

At the turn of the millennium, having contributed to the musical life of Tillsonburg as a choir and theatrical director, Betty finally decided it was time to exercise her own singing talents by joining a choir instead of leading one. She found so much joy in singing, initially with the Alymer Concert Singers, and finally with the Woodstock Fanshawe Singers.

Her spare time, such as it was, was spent in reading, crocheting, and attending concerts and theatrical performances with her family.

In August, 2006, Betty faced the crisis of breast cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation in London, with periodical cancer treatments during the next three years.

To her great joy, she was able to welcome the birth of her first grandchild, Rosalea, in October 2009 and enjoy the visit of her family at Christmas. It would be Betty’s last Christmas. The cancer spread in early 2010, and became terminal in June.

Betty refused to go “gentle into that good night”; she wanted to celebrate her life in the company of her family and friends. On Saturday, July 3, her many friends filled the First Baptist Church in Tillsonburg to say Good Bye and thank her for her love and dedication. Former music students and associates performed in her honour, while others spoke of their friendship and admiration of the lady who had brightened and enriched their lives for so many years. It was at this Celebration of Life that the Woodstock Fanshawe Singers performed, and announced the establishment of the Betty Scholtz Music Scholarship. Years before, Betty had been unable to complete her musical studies at Acadia due to financial limitations. For that reason, she was overjoyed to learn that the scholarship would enable others to achieve what she could not.

A few days later, on Tuesday, July 14th, Betty passed away at the Tillsonburg Hospital. She may have left us, but she will live on in the minds, memories and talents of her students and friends, and in each and every presentation of the scholarship that carries her name.

Submitted by Matthew Scholtz, Dec. 2012.
Permission granted by M. Scholtz to share the above information publicly.
C. Harrison, scholarship committee.