Herald and Journal, Sept. 24, 2001

HLWW teacher is named music educator of the year

By Lynda Jensen

Music teacher Dawn Kalvig, a veteran of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted district, was recently selected as the Minnesota Music Educator of the Year.

The HLWW school board recognized Kalvig last Monday. She was nominated by her colleagues and the Minnesota Music Educators Board, HLWW Superintendent Riley Hoheisel said. The award is given for meritorious service in music education.

"Dawn Kalvig is an exceptional teacher," commented choir director Chris Starr.

Kalvig described Starr as her mentor, saying that Starr is part of the supportive environment Kalvig finds at HLWW.

As the primary grades music specialist at HLWW, Kalvig loves to awaken young students to the joy of music, she said.

She remembered a student who declared last year "I don't like music class! And nobody can change my mind about that!" Kalvig said.

Slowly and gently, this student turned around, once the power of music worked its magic, Kalvig said.

"It happened step by step, a shared joke, learning about composers, listening to and playing many kinds of music, . . . attempting a first solo in front of peers . . . to the final triumph - auditioning for the spring elemetnary musical - and receiving one of the lead roles!" she said.

"This is the ultimate joy and privilege that we have as music educators - to continue to pass on the skills and enjoyment of the music that is such an important part of our lives.

This is what special teachers have done for me," Kalvig said. "Now it is my turn to pass along the music."

Kalvig started her career in Gilbert, Minn., where she was a K-12 vocal music specialist, teaching elementary students, junior and senior high choirs, and ensembles.

She is a graduate of Bemidji State University, with bachelor of science degrees in elementary education and vocal and classroom music.

The teachers who developed the love of music in her were Lyle Jewell and Lois and Don Hanson at Blackduck High School, where she graduated, she said.

Her heart is with elementary students, she said.

"I have seen the elementary music grow and develop in exciting ways through my 15 years at HLWW," Kalvig said.

She team teaches the "Gear Your Ear" curriculum given by the Women's Association of the Minnesota Orchestra, with colleague Jane Stritesky, to gifted and talented students in grades five and six as an after school enrichment learning class.

Teams from Humphrey Elementary School advanced to state level competition for the past three years.

She also coordinated Howard Lake's site for the "Celebration of Young Musicians," MMEA's area wide music festival for students in grades four and six, for the past five years.

Elementary music students present musicals every spring at Howard Lake and Waverly under the direction of Kalvig.

HLWW students in grades first through sixth have been composing music under Kalvig's instruction for the past eight years. She started this program with the guidance of Janet Gardner, composer and music educator from Montevideo.

Last year, HLWW students received top honors in the Minnesota Elementary Music Educators Composition Contest.

Several of her students performed their award-winning compositions at the Minnesota Elementary Music Educators composing recital during the mid-winter clinic in February.

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

Kalvig collaborated with the Humphrey Museum in Waverly to bring a "composer in residence" to Humphrey Elementary School. This residency was designed to help students learn more about Waverly's "favorite son" Hubert Humphrey, she said.

Students worked with Minnesota singer and songwriter Charlie Maguire to create songs about Humphrey's life, politics, values, and the community of Waverly.

Kalvig also believes in the value of exposing students to diverse styles of music, she said.

Students from her schools frequently attend the Minnesota Orchestra's Young People's Concerts and host programs from the Minnesota Opera Company, the Easy Ts (a male a capella quartet from Canada), Tim Buzza and the Junkyard Symphony, and Doug Wood.

Kalvig plays English hand bells with the Wright Ringers, a countywide hand bell choir in Buffalo, and co-directs an ecumenical hand bell choir from the Howard Lake-Waverly area.

She has collaborated with the director of Wright Ringers to create and coordinated an area wide hand chimes festive for young ringers in grades four and five, which takes place in November, she said.

Kalvig taught preschool music classed through HLWW Community Education and music classes for disabled adults sponsored by the Opening Doors program.

She directs the senior choir at St. John's Lutheran Church in Howard Lake and is active as a soprano soloist. She is a member of the Howard Lake Community Arts Council.

Kalvig was HLWW's 1993-94 teacher of the year, and received a leadership in Educational Excellence Award in 1993 from the Central Minnesota ECSU, and National Honor Society Outstanding Educator Awards in 1998, 2000, and 2001.

The HLWW Music Department received the MMEA Exemplary Program Award in 1997.

Kalvig received an Excellence in Arts Education grant from the Central Minnesota Arts Board in 1999. She used the award money to purchase hand chimes equipment at HLWW, and is building a hand chimes program for the district, she said.

Kalvig served as a representative for Region 5 with the Minnesota Elementary Music Educators, and is currently the composition chairperson for this organization.


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