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A musical journey for Rugby’s Halvorson

By Staff | May 21, 2010

Chris Halvorson has spent 35 years planting the seed of music in the minds and hearts of elementary students, including the last 24 in Rugby.

This week will be Halvorson’s last at Ely Elementary, but she isn’t retiring just yet from teaching music.

You could say she’s taking her gig down the road.

Halvorson will teach Rugby’s Children’s Music Academy, using her rich experience to help young musicians develop their skills in a four-day-a-week program.

“I’m very excited about it,’ Halvorson said. “I know I’m going to miss the kids and fellow teachers here at Ely, but I wanted to find a part-time position and this was an opportunity to continue to teach.”

Teaching music has always been a joy for Halvorson.

“Music is its own language and I want students to have a real understanding and appreciation for it,’ she said.

Halvorson’s love of music came at a very early age growing up in northern Wisconsin. She began playing the piano at the age of eight.

“I remember telling my mother shortly after taking lessons that I was going into music,’ she said.

Chris credits her parents for allowing her the opportunity to pursue different activities growing up, including music.

Halvorson would eventually attend the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire – known for its excellent music department.

“At college I was learning how to be a fine musician, but not what to do with that talent,’ she said.

She would gravitate to teaching and earned a bachelor degree in music with an emphasis in elementary education.

Teaching wasn’t all-together foreign to Chris whose father and two siblings were also educators.

“I knew what I was getting into, but that first year you really learned on the job,’ she said. “You also needed to be flexible and patient when working with students.”

Structuring a curriculum for all age levels was the focus in her early years of teaching, but changes in education over the years, including more requirements of teachers has been challenging.

Halvorson’s first few years of teaching were spent in Green Bay, Wisconsin and in St. Paul, Minnesota before coming to Rugby.

At Ely, Halvorson works with students in K-6, introducing them to the world of music. She also conducts the fifth and sixth grade choir and at one time instructed the fifth grade band.

Singing is a large part of the program, but students also are introduced to wind, percussion and string instruments.

Chris adds they are anxious to learn at the early ages and that enthusiasm is what makes teaching enjoyable.

The good news is Halvorson will continue to be part of that excitement at the Children’s Music Academy.

She will teaching classes in music theory, reading, keyboard, singing, guitar and recorder for ages four to eight.

“It’s a wonderful curriculum and it’s a program that connects music with the students and parents,’ she said. “I taught the youngest group this year and loved it.”

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