To make Disciples of all people by fostering a relationship with Christ through the Sacraments, formation, and fellowship.


Mary Kestell - Music Teacher


My Qualifications

I hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Instrumental Music Education and certification in General Music Education from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.

My Teaching Philosophy

* God and the Blessed Mother are the best educators.  They know what my students need the most.  I am only an instrument in their hands in preparing the future leaders of our Church and world.

* Love, trust, and a religious environment are fundamental in opening a child's heart to the work of the Holy Spirit.

* Music is an intrinsic part of human nature and is the expression of the depths of the human heart, prayer, and intelligence.  Music is a gift which contains in itself both vocation and mission.

* Any music which reflects the teaching and values of the Catholic Church is an "epiphany"of God's beauty.  This music creates joy, fosters a culture of life, and is a means of creating vibrant community life.

* Children learn to value music through the example of others and through their own listening, exploration, and practice.

* Knowledge and experience of the musical rhythm and flow of the Liturgical Year, as well as human history, are vital in the spiritual and cultural development of a child.  Music used in the classroom should be of quality and lasting value.

* The creativity of music-making involves the whole person, especially when combined with other arts.  Music and the arts are basic to a child's education.  The development of musical skills connects to, reinforces, and enriches other areas of learning.

* Music a symbolic language, which includes both verbal and non-verbal elements.  Becoming fluent and learning to make music well is a lifelong endeavor.  The seeds are planted in grade school, and I do what I can as an educator with the time given to me.  Further opportunities, continued interest, patience, and practice are needed for the seeds to grow and blossom.

Why do I teach at St. Joe's?

My life is given to the service of the Catholic Church.  I was initially called to be a Catholic educator during my undergraduate studies at the University, and I have continued to say yes to that call throughout my life.  I have found St. John Paul ll's "Letter to Artists" to be a confirmation of my beliefs as a Catholic musician.  As an educator and spiritual mother, I follow the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in passing on my faith through prayer, example, and fulfilling the responsibilities of daily life.  I treasure having the freedom to allow children to fully experience both religious and secular music in the context of the teachings of the Catholic Church.  Being part of a Catholic school and parish community enable me to do so.

Fun Facts about Me

I enjoy visiting with family and friends, prayer, embroidery, photography, listening to music, driving in the country, and many other interests.

What Others are Saying about Miss Kestell

"I really like Miss Kestell.  She is so nice.  Music class is really fun.  I like how we get to do concerts and learn dances."

"Miss Kestell pours so much thought and love into her music class.  I like that our children learn both current and historical music.  Our kids enjoy the variety of her activities and sharing what they learn with us at home."

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