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Virginia Chambers


1931 - 2019
Virginia Chambers Obituary
(News story) Virginia Chambers, an elementary music teacher who as a University of Toledo music professor taught would-be educators about developing rhythmic and tonal literacy in their pupils, died Sept. 13 in Kingston Residence of Sylvania. She was 88.

Formerly of West Toledo, Ms. Chambers was in declining health after a stroke in April, said Robert DeYarman, a UT colleague and longtime friend.

Ms. Chambers, UT professor emeritus since 1992, led courses for music education majors and for elementary education majors. She and Mr. DeYarman often taught and wrote together - 'Reading Tonal Patterns and Tometics: Music for the Classroom Teacher' is among their publications.

"Virginia was one of a kind," said Mary Kihslinger, a music professor of emeritus and former music department co-chairman who taught French horn and music history. "Students had a wonderful time in their classes. They made learning fun and interesting."

Mr. DeYarman said: "She was very dynamic and enthusiastic and fun."

She and Mr. DeYarman helped develop a musical language for teaching children about rhythm. It wasn't about teaching time signatures. It was about conveying to students the rhythmic feel of a song, a piece of music, he said. Likewise, prospective teachers learned to convey tonal patterns before notes.

"The motivation for teaching literacy was helping them to develop their ear training when they hear something rhythmically or tonally, so they had a musical language," Mr. DeYarman said. Her aim was "to influence in a positive way the future. She was very strong on that."

She also taught first-year music theory for all music majors. She presented lectures and workshops at music conferences around the country.

She was born Jan. 28, 1931, in Middlesboro, Ky., to Virginia and JC Chambers. She studied piano from a young age and, as a Middlesboro High School student, accompanied other performers. She was a 1948 graduate. She was a graduate of the University of Louisville's school of music and taught elementary music for a decade afterward in Oak Ridge, Tenn. She immersed herself in the community's cultural life, performing for three Gian Carlo Menotti operas, directing plays, accompanying the community chorus.

Her career was interesting and exciting, Mr. DeYarman said, but she did wonder what might have happened. She concluded that she was ready to move on.

She received a master's degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., and a doctorate from the University of Michigan. She also taught in the Rochester schools, at Eastern Michigan University, the State University of New York Genesseo, and the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

She arrived at UT in 1975.

Ms. Chambers was a longtime basketball fan and followed the University of Toledo women's and men's teams. Many years, she and her late brother, Harry, went to NCAA tournament games. She also threw an annual Kentucky Derby party and liked to attend other celebrations.

"She enjoyed life, and she had really good friends," Mr. DeYarman said. "She was a genuine Southern hospitality kind of person."

She also made clear her stance, whatever the topic.

"She had a way about her," Ms. Kihslinger said. "You knew she was from the South, but she could make a comment that would hit home in a special way."

There are no immediate survivors.

Memorial services will be at 3 p.m. Sept. 27 at Westgate Chapel in Sylvania Township. Arrangements are by Habegger Funeral Services.

This is a news story by Mark Zaborney. Contact him at [email protected],com or 419-724-6182.
Published in The Blade on Sept. 20, 2019
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