Eleanor Bill Calvin of Raynham, MA was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on June 16, 1930 being the eldest child of Arthur H.J. Bill and Elizabeth (Foote) Bill. She was the older sister to the late Robert Bill and late Marjorie Salt, both of NJ, and was previously married to the late Donald Calvin of NJ. She died on December 25, 2020 after 90 years of life due to COVID-19 complications after a brief time of declining health. She is survived by her sons Bruce Calvin of Taunton, MA and Douglas Calvin of Washington D.C. as well as her grandchildren Elizabeth and Richard Calvin of Taunton, MA, her niece Carolyne Salt of Gainesville, FL, her nephew David Salt of Bloomfield, NJ, the Bill family of Florham Park NJ, the Macleans of Pictou County Nova Scotia and the Fraser families in Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan, Canada.
She graduated from Glen Ridge NJ high school in 1947 at age 16, went on to Montclair State College where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in French with minors in music and education in 1951 at age 20. She continued her education earning a Master’s Degree in Music specializing in Music Education with emphasis on the Kodaly philosophy of teaching from New England Conservatory in Boston in 1978. She earned her American Guild of Organists (AGO) Choirmaster Certificate in 1982. She continued to learn and earned an additional 60 credits by completing summer courses, traveling, and creating slide presentations of her travels including an Educators’ trip to the Soviet Union in 1984. She loved travel and learning about different cultures. Other trips included Yugoslavia, England, Scotland, France, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Lichtenstein, Egypt, China, Tibet, Canada, and many places throughout the US.
Eleanor taught in public schools for 28 years. Ten years in New Jersey in Midland Park, Clifton, Caldwell, West Caldwell, and Upper Saddle River. Then eighteen years in Raynham teaching music and then general classroom. Her student concerts were so popular they caused traffic jams and overcrowding of the school cafetorium. She incorporated music, poetry, and dance into her music teaching and general classroom settings.
A resident of Raynham since 1974, she became a beloved local institution as a musician, teacher, church organist, choir director, piano teacher, and volunteer leader of several non-profits. She enjoyed music, dance, and travel and helped spread her joy of those to everyone she met. She was an avid reader, photographer, and art collector. She also enjoyed sewing, needlepoint, knitting, and jigsaw puzzles. She loved to sing, play, and teach music. Eleanor loved birds and all animals, opera, dance, and the Revels. Music was her life. Most of all, she loved her family, friends and students.
She taught private piano, organ, and voice since 1959, with many of her students becoming lifelong music lovers and musicians. She was a Visiting Lecturer, “Music for Classroom Teachers”, at Bridgewater College and Adjunct Lecturer “Ritual: Music, Dance and Drama” at Lesley College. For many years she danced and was an accompanist for English Country Dance, Contra Dance, and international folk dances in Boston, Cambridge, and Cape Cod. Eleanor enjoyed accompanying several choral groups including the Concert Chorale in Caldwell, NJ, SEMSBEA Jr., High Chorus, Middleboro Community Chorus, as well as various school productions and community groups. She continued performing at elderly centers and civic events until March 2020 where she had to stop because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Without ever really looking for a church musician job, she landed at many, including: Counselor and Assistant Director at Church Music Camps in Lebanon, NJ Organist choir Director at the United Presbyterian Church at Cedar Grove, NJ Organist/Director at Presbyterian Church in Franklin Lakes, NJ Minister of Music at the First Baptist Church, Brockton, MA Minister of Music, Central Methodist Church, Middleboro, MA Organist/Director, First Parish Church, Plymouth, MA
Minister of Music, First Congregational Church, Raynham, MA Organist/music Director, Rehoboth Congregational Church, Rehoboth, MA Fill in organist for services, weddings, funerals, and special events at many churches
As a religious music leader, she would work with ministers to create cohesive music and scripture lessons. She created memorable music festivals with many different church choirs in communities. Eleanor was very involved in Christ Congregational Church, Brockton MA, including initiating a successful fundraising drive to complete the pipe organ. The work to complete the pipe organ is still going on currently. She was a long-time leadership member of the Bristol County Retired Teachers Association, the Edith Stewart Chase Foundation which provides financial support for retired teachers in need, Raynham Historical Society, and several other civic, music, and environmental organizations. She helped several friends and family in their last years, becoming Power of Attorney and taking care of them and their affairs.
She was the long-time President of the Schubert Club, founded in 1904 in Providence, RI for piano teachers to support each other and share teaching ideas and have a combined recital. She was actively growing this group and trying to make it more active on an ongoing basis. In order for this group to continue their work please direct your donations in leu of flowers to The Schubert Club of Providence. checks payable to The Schubert Club, 36 Chessman Drive. Sharon MA 02067
Service to be shared via Zoom: Dec 31, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 897 2465 0043
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