Kimberly DeVries was trained musically at Luther College, Decorah, IA, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. While at Luther, Kimberly worked with the choral director, Weston Noble. In Arizona, Kimberly was a full-time church musician directing all levels of choirs and managing a program involving 700 volunteers. After moving to New York, she worked as a music teacher & choir director (K-12) at Suffolk Lutheran School, she was a choir director at Syosset High School on Long Island where she directed the Concert Choir, Choraleers, and was the musical director for their high school musicals. She also taught private voice and piano, was assistant choir director of the Lond Island Symphonic Choral Association and accompanied for various professional music organizations. While completing a MM in Choral Conducting at the State University of New York, Kimberly directed various university choirs including the adult and children’s choir position as Chorus Master for the SUNY Opera Program. Since moving to Minnesota, she has directed childrens' and adult church choirs, accompanied and directed praise teams/bands including directing the Excelsis Children's Choir at her home church, Grace Church of Eden Prairie. She has lead worship at various churches in the greater Minneapolis metro area, including most recently at Club 3 Degrees in downtown Minneapolis. In addition, she is a composer of worship and liturgical music. Kimberly lives in Eden Prairie with her husband, Brian, and their two children, Elyse (12) and Anna (10).
Q & A by Kimberly
1. Why are you interested in teaching at Calvin Christian School?
From the very first time that I began to learn about Calvin a few years ago (2004), I became very impressed and interested in the education and learning environment it was providing for the students who attended the school. I had the privilege at that time of getting to know students from Calvin firsthand through directing the Excelsis! Choir at Grace Church. Overall, the students I had gotten to know were respectful, kind, generous and Biblically grounded in their faith. They also displayed many characteristics of fine leadership skills, as well.
Since taking the position at Calvin, my interest in teaching at Calvin has to do with a lifelong desire to be involved in an area where my love for the Lord, of music and of children/youth would be combined into one profession. I am very excited about the ability to combine these areas of interest with teaching music at Calvin Christian School.
2. What training and/or experience do you have for teaching classroom music at the elementary level?
While attending Luther College, I received a degree in music with an emphasis in education and I student taught at an elementary school in Woodbury and a high school in Cottage Grove. After Luther, I had the opportunity to teach the Carole Series (classroom music education curriculum designed for churches) at King of Glory Lutheran Church in Tempe, AZ. Since that time, I have taught K-12 music, directed children's choirs, junior high choirs, high school choirs, college choirs and adult choirs.
3. What are some key objectives that should be included in an excellent elementary music curriculum?
An excellent elementary music curriculum will have specific objectives for each grade level. These objectives would address eight different topics: elements of music (rhythm, melody, texture, harmony, and form), reading music, music history and style, listening to music, performing to music, creating music, the role of music in our world, and valuing and evaluating music. Some of the best strategies used in addressing these eight topics would specifically encourage the child to experience music through hearing, feeling and expressing himself/herself through their own voice and/or through the use of the Orff and Kodaly method of music education.
4. What experiences do you have for leading/directing a choir for students in grades 6-12?
While working at King of Glory Lutheran, I had the experience of directing their 7th & 8th grade choir and their high school choir which toured locally and out of state. After moving from Arizona to New York, I had the wonderful opportunity of teaching at a K-12 private Christian school and also a public high school for three years. While in Minnesota, I directed adult choirs, a junior high choir and also taught a Vocal Technique Class through CHAT (Christian Homeschooling Association of Teachers) of 6th – 12th graders.
5. What do you believe are your strengths as a teacher?
My strengths as a teacher include a passionate and enthusiastic love for each student, a desire to see each child reach his/her potential in Christ according to the gifts and talents given to him/her, a broad and comprehensive understanding of quality music programming and a desire for innovative, creative and resourceful educational strategies incorporated into the classroom. My desire is to teach children how to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and incorporate the element of true worship into their music and daily lives, so that music is not all about performance, but about worshipping the Lord their God with the talents and gifts that He has given each one of them.
6. What is your personal Christian testimony?
I cannot remember a time in my life where I have not felt or known of the presence and unconditional love of the Lord. The Lord has been very faithful in providing people and experiences in my life that have encouraged and strengthened my faith. Looking back, I realize how each experience in my life has brought me closer to a better understanding of God’s love and His desire for me to love and trust Him with all my heart. My relationship with Jesus, through His Word and the working of the Holy Spirit, has given me the confidence and assurance of salvation. What joy! I continue to desire to know Him better each day. Stemming out from my relationship with Christ is the desire to serve Him faithfully, obediently and passionately. I have the desire and passion for all to come to know Christ as their personal Savior fully understanding His gift of salvation and walking in the fullness of who we are in Christ.