Digeridoos coming to Deer Creek
Rosalie Brown-Lundh has taught music at Deer Creek Elementary since the school opened in 1997. In her 21 years on the job, she's brought in a wide array of multicultural musicians for students to listen and learn from. Now, thanks to a local arts education grant, she has the opportunity to expose her students to a new art form: Australian aboriginal music.
In February, the Beta Beta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, a non-profit service organization of retired women educators, announced that it has awarded nearly $2,000 in mini-grants to elementary teachers in the Tigard-Tualatin School District. Brown-Lundh was among the eight teachers to receive grants of $250 or less, all of which went toward art projects.
Brown-Lundh has a history of bringing in diverse musicians for her students to learn from, so she knew she wanted to spend the grant money on a visiting artist.
"I play, and have been studying, the music of Zimbabwe for a long time, and so when some of the musicians are touring the West Coast, I've been able to bring some of them into our school and work with the kids on singing and drumming, and that's just been amazing," the teacher said.
Last year, Brown-Lundh met Pamela Mortenson, an Oregon woman who studies, teaches and performs aboriginal Australian music, at the World Rhythm Festival in Seattle. She took Mortenson's digeridoo class, and was impressed with how physically resonant the instrument could be — "like a massage almost."
"It just blew me away," she added. "When I found out this grant was available, I thought that was really something I want my kids to experience."
Mortenson will visit Deer Creek in June and perform for Brown-Lundh and her students. For Brown-Lundh, the music will serve as a jumping-off point for her students to learn more about a new culture.
"You can't play music from another culture, without them asking a few questions," she said. "Why do the lyrics say this? Why is that important in their culture?"
When introducing a new music genre, Brown-Lundh will often show students where the music originated on a map, and will talk to them about everything from that area's climate to its food.
"They're starting to explore how humans are the same," she said, "and also different, across the world."