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Music Tree is Tradition for Elementary Teacher

A special Christmas tree graces the Webster Groves home of Kirkwood teacher Marcia Hansen.

Marcia Hansen has received so many music ornaments over her 33 years as a music teacher that she finally decided to give them a Christmas tree of their own.

Hansen is retiring next year after 12 years at North Glendale Elementary School in Kirkwood. She also has taught in the Webster Groves and Parkway school districts and has long worked as an accompanist for choirs and vocalists.

So it’s no surprise that musical reminders fill her home in Webster Groves, especially at Christmastime.

Students and colleagues have given her dozens of Christmas ornaments over the years to commemorate her love of music. They fill up the branches of a tabletop Christmas tree perched in the corner of her sunroom.

“Some of them are very old,” Hansen said. “I still remember the first one I got from a student named Pam–it’s at least 31 years old. She was such a sweetie.”

The ornament, a string of five clear glass bells in descending sizes, is featured on her tree along with a red, glittery treble clef, a golden French horn and a jolly Old St. Nick tickling the ivories of an old-fashioned upright piano.

There’s even a festive green Kermit the frog belting out Christmas carols. Kermit is a favorite of Hansen's. A shelf in her classroom at North Glendale displays her collection of the stuffed Muppet.

All told, there are more than 50 ornaments, Hansen estimated. And if a few more come her way this Christmas, she will happily find room on the music tree.

In fact, the music tree was a highlight when Hansen’s 1920 red granite Greek Revival-style home was one of six featured houses on this year’s . The house tour is a major fundraiser for the PTO at , which Hansen’s two grown children attended when they were younger.

Hansen said that being a part of the house tour was something she had wanted to do for some time, but it also meant getting into the Christmas spirit a little earlier than usual.

Being a grade school music teacher means the holiday season is especially busy for her, with holiday programs and end-of-semester activities.

Still, Hansen and her husband, Craig, find time to host a neighborhood gathering as well. Each year, their block of Oak Terrace adopts a family through the . Hansen provides hot chocolate and cookies for the 13 families on her block when they gather to box up their donated gifts and food items.

“We do all the stockings and stocking stuffers,” Hansen said.

Hansen, 55, said she would miss teaching when she retires, but she hopes to continue working as an accompanist. She also is looking forward to having the flexibility to travel with her husband during the school year.

She does regret that she won’t be able to open the new music room at North Glendale when construction is complete next fall.

“But it’s time. I’m ready,” she said.

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