Brandon University mourns passing of longtime music professor

February 10, 2021

The entire Brandon University community is joined in sadness at the passing of Dr. Joan Miller.

Sister Joan Miller

Sister Joan, as she was known, was an Associate Professor in the School of Music, where she taught for more than 30 years. She began her career at BU in 1979 and taught until her retirement in 2012.

“We have lost a wonderful member of our community,” said Greg Gatien, Dean of Music at BU. “It was a deep pleasure to work with Sister Joan from my arrival at Brandon University until her retirement — she was warm and welcoming to my wife and me, she was a wonderful colleague on every committee, and she was a great role model for me as a junior member of our faculty.”

Born in Saskatchewan, she started music lessons at the age of 6, and began her teaching career in Saskatoon and Regina. She entered the Sisters of our Lady of the Missions, and continued her studies, earning a Bachelor of Music from the University of Saskatchewan and a Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University. She also studied in Italy and London.

“Sister Joan was a huge presence in the western Manitoba music community,” Gatien said. “She was a devoted person in all aspects of her life, including to her students, and she was tireless in teaching, in adjudicating at festivals, and in examinations. We all miss her very much.”

Sister Joan Miller

A lasting legacy of Sister Joan’s dedication to her students will continue through the Dr. Joan Miller Scholarship-Bursary in Classical Piano, which is awarded to a classical piano performance student in either the Master’s program or a continuing student in the Bachelor’s program.

Recently, Sister Joan had been in the news after having her Steinway grand piano moved to her nursing home, where she continued to play. The piano had been a gift from her father.

A full obituary for Sister Joan is available online at where there is also a link to the live-stream of the funeral Mass, which is scheduled for this Thursday, Feb. 11 at 11 a.m.

In honour of Dr. Joan Miller, the Brandon University flag has been lowered to half-staff.

For more information, please contact:

Greg Gatien
Dean, School of Music

Grant Hamilton
Director, Marketing and Communications

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