New MacEwan U Award is a tribute to Bobby and Sharon Cairns z”l

Bobby and Sharon Cairns, of blessed memory, both tragically passed away in 2020.

(AJNews) – A new MacEwan University Award is a tribute to Bobby and Sharon Cairns, of blessed memory.

Bobby Cairns was a giant of Alberta music. When both he and his wife Sharon died in November 2020 of COVID-19 complications, it was impossible for the family and the community to gather for a memorial. However, a brand new MacEwan University scholarship honours their memory, and will help to foster the growth of music students in the future.

The Bobby and Sharon Cairns Memorial Award has been created to honour Bobby and Sharon Cairns. Bobby’s lifelong commitment to music and education and Sharon’s community engagement and activities will be remembered by supporting students enrolled in the Music Program at MacEwan University’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications.

As head of Guitar at the MacEwan Music program, Bobby dedicated 36 years, helping to shape the future of young musicians. Cairns’ own career kicked off when he was only 15 years old with an invitation to play with the legendary Tommy Banks.

His career as an educator, which spanned four decades, saw him create and oversee the program’s guitar curriculum, teach countless courses and direct music ensembles, including the Guitar Ensemble, unique among North American university and college music programs.

“Bobby fully engaged in teaching and brought all of his energy, imagination, expertise and musicianship to the enterprise of teaching and learning,” says Dr. William Richards, chair of the Department of Music. “He was a true pedagogue, a master of the instrument and found many innovative and fruitful approaches to teaching.”

Sharon began her professional career as an Executive Assistant at Edmonton’s ITV station, but later decided to stay home and raise two children while taking on various volunteer leadership positions in the Jewish Community. She went on to work as the Executive Director of the Jewish National Fund Edmonton for over 20 years.

Sharon was Bobby’s biggest fan and vice versa. She had an incredible sense of humour and was social by nature. She was the backbone of the Cairns family and a relationship builder; she was dearly loved by her many friends.

“Thank you to the Royal Alex Hospital Staff for your care, for your compassion, for your sacrifice so that people like our parents are treated with respect and the dignity they deserve in their final days,” said brothers Jay and Matt Cairns.

“Our mother instilled in us a strong Jewish identity, a love for Israel, a commitment to community and to love your kids like no other. We loved her so much.  To say that we are heartbroken is the understatement of a lifetime.

“We do find comfort in that Mom and Dad are reunited, soul mates that continue their love affair seamlessly, and for all eternity.”

This award honours Bobby’s vision and Sharon’s passion, providing a legacy to others to build their own careers in music.

“We are pleased to share with you the launch of the Bobby and Sharon Cairns Scholarship,” said Jay and Matt & Tami Cairns.

“Thank you in advance for your support and generosity towards this living legacy honouring our parents.”

All donations are 100% tax deductible and online donations receive an immediate tax receipt.

Here a CKUA interview with Jay Cairns about the new MacEwan Scholarship.

Click here to make a donation to the Bobby and Sharon Cairns Memorial Award or more information, contact the MacEwan Alumni and Development Office at or 780-497-5410.

1 Comment on "New MacEwan U Award is a tribute to Bobby and Sharon Cairns z”l"

  1. Bob Bennett | Apr 14, 2021 at 9:38 am | Reply

    Bobby’s dedication to teaching makes this award so appropriate. He was talented, dedicated and humble. He would be very pleased to know his life’s work will be carried on in assisting a worthy student. Jay and Matt should be very proud. We all loved Bobby.

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