Franciscan Sister Believes She Can Help People in Belgium

by Sister Julie Ann on January 18, 2009

NPR features Tarak McLain‘s ‘Thirty Things I Believe’ essay that is part of a longer work that he wrote at the completion of 100 days of kindergarten. Tarak begins with ‘life is good’ and ‘we can help people’.

news_129.jpgBelgium’s Daily recently headlined Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Lorna Zemke, OSF as a ‘Famous American Music Pedagog Gives Workshop’. A full-time professor of music at Silver Lake College and an expert music educator in the Kodaly Approach to music education, she, too, believes ‘life is good’ and she ‘can help people’ by sharing her own expertise even if that means flying many hours away to do it.

Invited by Guido Six, Director of the Ostend Music Conservatory (55 music teachers who instruct 1700 students) in Ostend, Belgium, Sister Lorna spent a week of concentrated instruction with the faculty at three area music conservatories also including Ieper (remember In Flanders Field lovenotes.jpgpoem) and Roeselare Conservatories January 5-11. Sister conducted seminars on the essentials of the Kodaly Approach to Music Education and unique music teaching techniques. Notable hallmarks of her teaching include her unique Love notes: Music for the Unborn Child program and her use of hands-on-manipulatives in teaching music concepts.

Sister Marella Wagner, OSF, chair of the Department of Music at Silver Lake College and Professor of Music Theory, accompanied Sister Lorna. Sister Marella uses and adapts the Kodaly Approach to Music in the Comprehensive Musicianship courses she conducts for music majors and minors at the college.

One of the major differences in the present method of teaching music in Belgium and the Kodaly approach is the Conservatorie system’s fixed-Do solfege vs Kodaly’s moveable -Do solfege.

Tarak McLain and the Franciscan Sisters reaching out to others in Belgium are acting on their beliefs. What are some of your hopes and beliefs during this unique week that celebrates the beginning of the Christian Unity Octave?

4 thoughts on “Franciscan Sister Believes She Can Help People in Belgium”

  1. Sister Natalie says:

    Thank you, Sister Lorna and Sister Marella, for the commitment and witness to the good of life and all people through music. Music is the language of the soul that everyone can relate to and understand.
    Beyond words, people contribute to the meaning of life. During this time of the Christian Unity Octave I am reminded that it is necessary to focus on the goodness of each person. It is my prayer that there will be a growing respect and reverence for each person. Hope will grow as belief and trust in another grows. Prayer is the language that will bring unity to all people.

  2. As I watched some of the inauguration footage, I was reminded again of the need to reach out to our neighbors here and beyond. Our Catholic Social Teaching is an essential part of our Catholic faith.

    Thank you, Sisters, for your selfless modeling of being willing to go beyond your strength to share your gifts with others.

  3. How wonderful that you could reach beyond our U.S. borders to enliven the teaching of music. Thank you for your willingness to continue to inspire hope and new beginnings in music and in life.

  4. Sister Rosangela says:

    I don’t think I’m alone in saying I’m so proud of Sisters Marella and Lorna for undertaking the trip to Belgium and the momentous task of teaching so many music concepts in so short a time. They were so unselfish in accepting this challenge. What an example for all of us. Though Sister Lorna did the actual teaching, Sister Marella was her support and needed companion.

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