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Corona del Mar Today: Retiring music teacher honored at holiday assembly

December 24, 2011|By Amy Senk
  • Harbor View Elementary School’s longtime music teacher, Linda Messenger, was honored with a standing ovation at the school's annual holiday program.
Harbor View Elementary School’s longtime music…

Harbor View Elementary School's longtime music teacher, Linda Messenger, was honored with a standing ovation at the recent holiday program — her last school-wide musical assembly before she retires in June.

"Harbor View has always been proud of our musical program," said Principal Charlene Metoyer. "This is due to the fabulous direction of Mrs. Messenger. I don't know if anyone can take her place."

Messenger has worked at Harbor View for 11 years, and she also has taught at Whittier, Newport Coast and Newport elementary schools, teaching thousands of students instrumental and vocal music as well as dance.

Her first year, she took over a Harbor View music program that had only a piano. The same year, she was given $10,000 in arts grant money and used it to purchase xylophones that students continue to learn to play and use in performances.

Harbor View students now also learn to play recorders, and sixth-graders learn the trumpet, clarinet and violin, she said.

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At Harbor View, Messenger created a chorus group that performs at the Christmas Walk, at Five Crowns and at the Orange County Museum of Art. She also contributes musical productions for the school's annual Veterans Day assembly.

"I start teaching 'Proud to Be an American' to kindergartners," she said. "The first week of the year, and they learn every word."

At last week's holiday program, the walls of the school's multipurpose room were decorated with enormous posters created by each class, spelling out "We Love Mrs. Messenger."

After the assembly, the school's Parent Faculty Organization's co-presidents thanked her and gave her a bouquet while parents gave a standing ovation.

Messenger will continue to work with students until the end of the school year, but the principal wanted to honor her today because it's the last program with the entire school that includes parents.

The school will have a new music teacher next year, Metoyer said, and Messenger has promised to return to volunteer and help with programs such as the Veterans Day assembly.

Messenger — who said she plans to spend time with her young grandchildren after retirement — said the tributes and decorations were overwhelming.

"Tremendously moving," she said. "This blew me away."

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