Former local teacher donates large and rare collection of musical instruments | Local

TRACI M. BLACK 573-783-3366

Dr. Aurelia and Jeff Hartenberger donated a collection of 2,500 musical instruments from around the world to the Sheldon Arts Foundation in January.

The Hartenbergers have collected over 3,000 musical instruments from around the world. They bought instruments from appraisers on the PBS TV show “Antiques Road Show.”

The oldest instrument was evaluated by officials licensed by the US government. These assessors determined it to be the period between 3000 BC and 1100 BC. It is the Olmec which is a jade wind instrument. It was enjoyed by the first culture to be traced to Latin America.

Aurelia said, “The Olmecs originated in the southern region of Mexico with a people that existed before the Maya.”

There are more than 700 rare instruments from the African continent. More than 800 instruments belong to the classical and jazz genres. Some of them belonged to Clark Terry and Artie Shaw, who were among the greatest jazz musicians in the country. Shaw became well known in the 30s and 40s and was nicknamed “King of Clarinet”. Terry was originally from St. Louis and played alongside Count Basie.

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Aurelia is a teacher and has collected the instruments in order to help her students in a practical way. She said music has a way of connecting the world.

“Music promotes the positive and enhances the cognitive and creative thought process,” Aurelia said.

Thanks to the donation of these instruments, she added: “I will still be teaching long after I am gone.”

Aurelia began her teaching career as a music teacher for the Marquand-Zion School District in 1971 and remained there until 1973.

Aurelia Whitener (as she was known then) married Jeff Hartenberger about 40 years ago. They raised three successful children. Karrie (Hartenberger) Bopp, Jaclyn Hartenberger and Kevin Hartenberger. Karrie and Jaclyn have followed in their mother’s footsteps and are teachers. Jaclyn holds a Ph.D. in musical direction and is a professor and conductor at the University of Georgia in Athens. Their son, Kevin, trains doctors as part of his role in laboratory technology.

Aurelia became the group principal at Oakville Senior High School. Her next position was as Director of Curriculum in the Mehlville School District. She retired from full-time teaching and accepted a part-time position as music coordinator for the Lindbergh School District. Now she is a part-time music teacher at three universities in St. Louis. Webster, University of Missouri-St. Louis and the University of Maryville.

At Webster University, she teaches a secondary methods class in the music department. Her Cognitive Development course there teaches overall brain functions, with an emphasis on learning and memory processes. She received her training in this field during her studies at Harvard and Columbia universities.

She has taught at the University of Maryville since 1990 and currently teaches world music. She said the size of her music classes at the University of Missouri – St. Louis (UMSL) was pretty big this year.

True to her roots, she teaches woodwind pedagogy. It trains students who plan to become music teachers. His course covers classical music teaching methods for instruments such as flute, clarinet, saxophone, oboe and bassoon.

His course offerings at UMSL also include Music from Africa, Music from Latin America, Music from Asia, and Music from Native America. In order to do research for these classes, she travels to some foreign countries. Each of these classes covers classical and folk music, arts and cultural practices from the continent. Her research has taken her to the continents of Africa, Asia, Latin America and across her own.

The cultural practices and art of the people intrinsic have a direct influence on their music.

“Cultural practices mean ‘way of life,'” she said.

The classical and folk music subjects affiliated with each of the continents are further subdivided into major periods in its courses.

“The study begins with natural instruments in Latin America, particularly in Guatemala, and extends to today’s Marimba music,” explains Aurelia. “For example, the Latin American music class goes way back to include the Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs.”

She earned her undergraduate degrees at Ole Miss and the University of Miami at Coral Gables. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Applied Music and a Master of Music in Music Theology. Aurelia completed a teacher certification program at Southeast Missouri State University because of her love of teaching. She got her doctorate. from the Washington University School of Music Arts and Sciences.

Her first connection to music was in fifth grade when she joined her school band. She began learning to play the flute from her band manager at the time, Burt Rice. Aurelia continued to play in school bands until she graduated from Fredericktown High School. Although she focused on the flute, she is proficient in several other wind instruments. This list includes all brass instruments in the subcategory such as trumpet and trombone. His proficiency includes wind instruments such as oboe, clarinet and saxophone which are also a sub-category of wind instruments.

His grandparents WP and Mamie O’Brien of Fredericktown owned the Bee Store. It was located on East Main St. near the courthouse. He occupied the place where Pizza Hut is now. The general merchandise store sold items such as boots, hats, clothing, gardening tools, household items, etc. It was open during World War II and the Great Depression.

“Grandpa was known back then for giving items to families in need and saying, ‘pay when you can,'” Aurelia said. “The store also remained open for many years after that.”

“They are dear to me and I still have their photo from 1886,” she recalls.

You can check out Hartenberger’s World Musical Instrument Compilation at

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