Howard Lake Herald, February 23, 1998

A joy to teach elementary music

Dawn Kalvig has been teaching music for 14 years. She is a graduate of Bemidji State University, with bachelor of science degrees in elementary education and vocal and classroom music.

Kalvig began her career in Gilbert, Minn., where she was a k-12 vocal music specialist, teaching elementary music to grades k-6 and junior and senior high choirs and ensembles. Kalvig discovered during her time there that her greatest interest and most enjoyable aspect of teaching music was working with the elementary students.

She has been teaching classroom music to fourth - sixth grade students at Humphrey Elementary and first - third grade students at Howard Lake Elementary for the past 12 years. Kalvig considers it a joy to introduce the students to the magic of making music, and help them to learn the musical skills that will lead to a lifetime enjoyment of music.

Kalvig was born in Des Moines, Iowa, the second of four children. When she was 11, her parents bought "The Hide Out," a fishing resort 20 miles south of Blackduck in northern Minnesota. This was a family-operated business, so she became a champion cabin cleaner. She attended Blackduck schools, and was very active in vocal and instrumental music.

Kalvig played trombone in the high school band under the direction of Don Hanson, Chris Starr's father. Coincidentally, when she student taught, her supervising teacher happened to be Lois Hanson, Chris Starr's mother. Kalvig learned many wonderful things about the art of teaching music from Lois, and Starr has continued mentoring Kalvig since she came to Howard Lake.

Kalvig has seen the elementary music department grow and develop in exciting ways throughout her 12 years at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (HLWW). Ginny Lewis and Kalvig frequently team teach fourth and fifth grade units at Waverly and first grade units at Howard Lake, building on each others strengths in curriculum areas.

Jane Stritesky and Kalvig have team taught the WAMSO "Gear Your Ear" curriculum - the elementary component to the high school listening program, for the past three years. This class is offered to gifted and talented students in grades five and six as an enrichment learning class.

HLWW hosted the Celebration of Young Musicians, last year, and will host another one on Saturday, March 7. This is an area-wide music festival for students in grades four to six. To date, students have registered from eight area schools. Kalvig coordinates this event, arranging for three master teachers to guide the students in workshops designed to give hands-on exploration of different areas of music, such as choral, movement, instruments, and multicultural music.

Elementary music students present spring musicals in Howard Lake and Waverly. These are truly a collaborative effort between Kalvig, Ginny Lewis, their students, classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, and parent and community volunteers. Everyone works hard together to produce a quality experience for the students.

Howard Lake Elementary students in grades one to three are rehearsing now for their show "A Blunder Down Under" to be performed Thursday, March 12, in the high school auditorium. Humphrey Elementary students in grades four and five will be presenting "Song and Dance Man: George M. Cohan" on Thursday, May 7, in Waverly.

HLWW students in grades 1-5 have been composing music under Kalvig's guidance for the past five years. They have entered their compositions in a state-wide composing contest, sponsored by Minnesota Elementary Music Educators with increasingly improving results each year.

Last year, HLWW students received top honors in this competition by receiving the most composition awards of any single school district in the state. Several of her students have been invited to perform their winning compositions at the MEME Composing Recital during the Minnesota Music Educator's Mid-Winter Clinic.

Kalvig has added a new facet to this curriculum area by developing a mentorship program where her students are paired up with area composers to develop talent and create further learning opportunities.

Kalvig has taught preschool music classes through community education in Howard Lake and music classes for disabled adults sponsored by the Opening Doors program. She directs the senior choir at St. John's Lutheran in Howard Lake, is active as a soprano soloist, and plays English handbells with the St. Mary's Bell Choir in Waverly and Wright Ringers, a county-wide bell choir in Buffalo.

Kalvig is a member of the District 2687 Community Education Board and was active on the Howard Lake Community Arts Council.

She was HLWW's 1993-94 Teacher of the Year, and has received a Leadership in Educational Excellence award from the Central Minnesota ECSU. She currently serves as Region 5 representative for Minnesota Elementary Music Educators, and is a candidate for the position of composition chair in the same organization.

The professional organizations that Kalvig belongs to include National Education Association, Minnesota Education Association, Music Educator's National Conference, Minnesota Music Educator's Association, and the Minnesota Elementary Music Educator's Association.

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