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Rockwood Teacher Writes Fiction Novel

This Wildwood Middle School teacher and assistant band director at Eureka High School used writing to deal with her grandmother's fight with Alzheimer's.

Denise Dauw, a 1997 graduate of Marquette High School, has turned a difficult loss into the foundation for a new, young adult fiction:  If Music Be The Food Of Love. The story ties her experience of losing her grandmother to late-onset Alzheimer’s disease to music performance, family, romance and medicine.

"In the final stages of her illness, talking to my grandmother didn't draw a response," Dauw said in a Rockwood School District announcement. "However, when I sang to her, she opened her eyes, turned to me and tried to speak. It was a special moment because she gave the gift of music to my mother, who in turn gave it to me.”

While a Marquette student, Dauw was involved in numerous aspects of the fine arts program; from concert and chamber choirs to wind ensemble, marching band, musicals and more. Dauw recalls her favorite activity was serving as a drum major in the marching band. 

“I began my teaching and leadership career at that point, and I'll never forget the first time I conducted the band,” said Dauw. “Musically, it's the best feeling in the world.” 

Today, Dauw serves as band director at Wildwood Middle School and assistant band director at Eureka High School. 

“Through the stellar teachers I had as a student and the experiences I gained, Rockwood provided me a superior base for music education. After graduating from Millikin University in 2001, my first priority was to get back to Rockwood so I could work with an excellent staff and reach new heights with my students,” she said.

Once Dauw’s novel is published later this year, she plans to give a portion of the proceeds to the Alzheimer's Association. From teaching to writing to serving as a captain for the Walk to End Alzheimer's 5K Run/Walk at Busch Stadium, Dauw wants to bring further awareness to the disease. 

“Music can create powerful connections every day, and I’m hoping to inspire as I've been inspired in the process."

Denise Elam Dauw September 30, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Charyl: I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. We are living in one of the finest cities in the world for Alzheimer's research. Please solicite the expertise of our St. Louis chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, who will put you in touch with many of our fine neurologists in association with Washington University's Knight Alzheimer's Research Center. They are doing amazing things for families. I will definitely let as many people as I can know about the book. It is a work of historical fiction I hope will bring more awareness to this devastating disease.
christine reyes October 01, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Denise, i am so proud of you and all you have accomplished in your life..knowing you for all the years i have and the hardships you've endured and how you have overcome many and still fight today for others as well as the cause makes me proud to know you and i wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors
Denise Elam Dauw October 01, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Thank you, Christine. The publicity is overwhelming, but if it's for a hugely important cause like Alzheimer's, then it's all worth it. I hope people will enjoy it!
Adam Quincy Paul October 02, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Congrats Denise!!! I know you have been working hard on this book for quite some time. It is great to see someone accomplish such a big goal in life. Dom and I can't wait to read it when it comes out. I am sure you and Lance are really excited! -Best Wishes, The Pauls
Maria Altrudo May 17, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Denise will be at 6 North Café on June 29, 2013 signing copies of "If Music Be The Food Of Love" http://ballwin-ellisville.patch.com/events/if-music-be-the-food-of-love

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