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Goodbye Arvida Steen

Recently we lost a luminary in the world of Orff Schulwerk. Arvida Steen will be remembered as a Matriarch of the American Orff Schulwerk educational movement, brilliant pedagogue, and loving friend to many. Her wisdom and kindness touched many lives and we are all better teachers and humans for having her in the world.


Here is her Obituary:

Arvida Marie (Mattson) Steen

Arvida Steen, age 86 of St. Paul, passed away March 16, 2023. She touched the lives of so many people. The love she shared with the world through the relationships she built as a Mother, Grandmother, friend, mentor, church member, and teacher will last for generations far into the future.

Arvida shared her passion for Orff Schulwerk, joyful music making, and teaching with a world-wide community. She was a past President of AOSA, DSA Recipient, beloved teacher, and mentor. Arvida was a faithful member of Hennepin Ave United Methodist church. She led the children’s choir, participated in Sanctuary choir, joined many church committees, and any activity where she felt God’s calling. She found a wonderful and supportive community at The Terrace (Episcopal Church Home) where she lived. Arvida was the beloved matriarch of her family through gatherings filled with laughter and love.

Preceded in death by her daughter Marjorie Gardner and husband Philip Steen, Arvida is survived by her daughters Carla Steen and Cindy Elizondo (Ross). She is also survived by her grandchildren Amy McDonnell (Matthew) and Thomas Gardner (Britney Flatten), Jack and Grace Elizondo, great grandchildren George Sharp, Everil Gardner and Murphy McDonnell.

A memorial service will be held at 10:00 am Saturday April 22nd at Hennepin Ave United Methodist Church in Minneapolis. Memorials preferred to Arvida’s favorite music funds: the University of St. Thomas Jane Frazee Orff Scholarship Fund or Hennepin Avenue Music Fund.

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