K-W Elementary School Program

Students of K-W Elementary School presented their Christmas program titled “Sing for Joy, fa, la, la, la,” under the direction of music teacher Jan Strand. The opening introduction to the program reminded audience members of proper concert etiquette. As part of this overview Colton Bauer, Mason Fink, and Josh Didderich, the Fa La La Boys, gave a humorous interpretation of the concert protocol.

“Fantasy on a French Carol” was the opening number played by the fourth graders using recorders. Followed by the kindergarten and first-grade children demonstrating the skills they have learned in the first half of the school year.

The concluding number of the program’s first half was “Sing Noel,” played by fourth-grade students using boom whackers. Over the years, the boom whackers have become a popular instructional tool for Strand to teach notes and rhythms.

Second, third, and fourth-grade students presented a selection of new and familiar songs in their half of the program, which concluded with “Jubilate Deo/Silent Night” and “Sing for Joy.”

At the end of the program, the students, led by physical education teacher Tracy Erlandson, danced off and exited the gymnasium to “Winter Wonderland.” The dance-off is an excellent example of teaching skills across the curriculum.

In her concluding remarks, Strand acknowledged a program like this is possible because of the cooperation of all the KWES staff members. The musical experience afforded to the K-W students is built on a scope and sequence that starts in kindergarten and continues through high school.

After attending and enjoying the middle school, high school, and elementary school programs, people of the K-W District have every right to appreciate the directors and students who have shown a high level of musical skill.

FFA Poultry Judging

On Monday, Dec. 20, the FFA Poultry Team competed in the Region 8 FFA Poultry judging contest at Austin. As a team, John Smith, Jay Smith, Jett Smith, and Knute Ronningen placed first and will compete at the State FFA Convention in the spring of 2022.

Individually, John Smith placed first overall in the competition. McKinsy Rew, who replaced the retired Chuck Larson, has done an excellent job preparing FFA members for regional competition. Rew reached out to long-time Kenyon, K-W FFA instructor John Shelstad. The two of them spent a few hours one afternoon discussing FFA programs.

Kenyon Public Library Board

The December Library Board meeting was the end of an era, as it was board member Pat Senjem’s final meeting following her third three-year term. In addition to being a local board member, Senjem was also the Kenyon representative on the Southeast Library Co-operative Board. Lorin Pohlman was the last board member to serve a maximum of three terms.

When there are openings on the board, the Kenyon mayor appoints board members, and generally, the city council approves the new board member.

The library board is responsible for setting the library’s policies and working with the librarian to ensure the library is efficiently operated. It is also their responsibility to review the library budget and make sure adequate funds are provided to finance the approved budget.

Current librarian Michelle Otte, like her predecessors, continues to maintain a library collection that is up to date, offering patrons of the library an excellent selection. Otte has moved the library from only a lending institution to a learning center for the people of Kenyon. The preschool story time program offers an introductory reading curriculum for emerging readers. In late December, the adult book club will meet and select books to read for 2022.

In addition to keeping hard copy books available to local readers, people can use the library’s online services. People are fortunate to have a resource to use in the Kenyon area like the Kenyon Library.

What I learned this holiday season

One thing I learned this holiday season is practice makes perfect. Making cookies is like learning to play the piano; it takes practice. I recall reading an article about Blue Ribbon Baker Marjorie Johnson, who said, “You cannot expect your first attempt at making cookies to be perfect.” There are instant results to evaluate while making cookies, unlike practicing the piano, which took many years to hear an improvement.

Last week, I wrote about Joyce Aakre and her rosemaling cookies. I bid on her cookies in my excitement at finding the Norway House online auction. After submitting the bid, I realized that the cookies probably would not be sent by mail. If they were, the cookies would likely arrive in many pieces. If I had the winning bid, it would mean a trip to downtown Minneapolis to pick up a dozen cookies.

After worrying about making that trip, I received a text from the Norway House auction organizers on Monday while at the elementary school program. They informed me someone had upped the bid. With a sigh of relief, I sat back and enjoyed the program.

One day in March 2020, as I was crossing the Kenyon Market parking lot, a customer leaving the store informed me there was one package of toilet paper left on the shelf. Last week, I discovered that the Kenyon Market had an annual shortage not of toilet paper but Swedish Meatball mix.

Sixty years ago, when Owen Musgjerd became a partner in the Self-Serve grocery with Ervin Hukriede, he made a meatball mix and polsa using his grandparent’s recipe. Each year he would tweak the recipes until they were close to perfect.

The sales volume of these traditional Scandinavian meats increased each fall and early winter. The recipes were part of the deal when Owen sold the store to Fred Braegelmann. Fred soon learned the impact the demand for these products had on his grocery business. The formula again was sold as part of the business when Pete Wagner purchased the grocery store from Fred. Today, Owen’s original recipe cards are kept in a safe and are a tightly held secret, just like the original Coca-Cola recipe in Atlanta, GA.

Last Wed. morning, I was in the Kenyon Market to purchase the meatball mix to serve on Christmas Eve. Imagine how my heart fell when I looked in the meat bunker, and there was one package left. The meat department staff informed me they planned to make another batch that morning and if I wanted some to come back in the afternoon. Otherwise, there was a strong possibility of the mix being sold out again.

People in Southeastern Minnesota place orders for multiple polsa and Swedish Meatball mix packages at our local grocery store, often creating a shortage. This demand is good for business at the Kenyon Market but creates difficulty for the uninformed local shopper.

Next Nov. I will place my order for these two delicacies and, hopefully, avoid the potential shortage in Dec.

Kevin Anderson is a guest columnist for The Kenyon Leader.

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