CommunityUnsung Heroes


Unsung Hero teaches hundreds of students the beauty of piano

Jenny Wickland
Betty Lou Wambeke
Betty Lou Wambeke
Posted at 3:35 PM, Jun 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 11:43:26-04

WHITEFISH - Any given day you can hear an array of music pouring out of the walls of an old historic home off Spokane Avenue in Whitefish.

Since 1997, this historic building has been home to North Valley Music School, a non-profit school teaching a number of different instruments to music lovers of all ages.

Jenny Wickland — named “Mrs. Jenny” by her pupils — has taught more than 500 students piano lessons since the school’s inception.

Artwork showers the walls inside Jenny Wickland’s music studio, a gift from students past and present.

unsung piano

“I love it, it’s so good, it’s like a little piece of them, artwork for the wall, I love it,” said Wickland.

Wickland has been teaching beginner and intermediate piano lessons since 1997 when her mom Betty Lou Wambeke co-founded North Valley Music School.

“My mom was one of the folks who helped start it and she had a stroke in 2001 so, I took her student’s over at that time,” added Wickland.

Wickland quickly became a favorite among her students thanks to her kind heart and masterful teaching, garnering the nickname “Mrs. Jenny.”

Unsung Hero

“She’s just an angel, she just has a huge heart for everybody around her, is just a caretaker and full of love,” said North Valley Music School Executive Director Diedre Corson.

Corson said Wickland works tirelessly at the music school providing the best care and lessons for her students.

“She has this sense about her that she knows how to take people in and nurture them and help them grow and thrive which is kind of what we do at the music school,” added Corson.

Wickland's mom Betty Lou passed away last year from stroke complications.

Betty Lou Wambeke
Jenny Wickland's late mother Betty Lou Wambeke

Wickland can still feel her mom’s love as her fingers dance around the keys.

“So, it’s like she’s still giving, and that just never ends so, it’s a wonderful circle,” said Wickland.

“I think her mom is with her every day, every moment, I think she is more than proud of what Jenny has done for her, for the community, for the music school, for her family, I know Betty Lou would be very proud,” said Corson.

WEB EXTRA: Watch Jenny Wickland giving a piano lesson below.

WEB EXTRA: Watch Jenny Wickland giving a piano lesson below.

KPAX and Whitefish Credit Union continue to highlight unsung heroes in Western Montana. Each week we will spotlight someone who made a difference in our communities and also award them VIP ticket's to this summer's Under the Big Sky Festival in Whitefish.

KPAX, Under the Big Sky, and Whitefish Credit Union continue to highlight Unsung heroes in the community. If you would like to nominate an Unsung Hero who has made a difference in your community, visit