About Us

Academics / Departments & Programs / Music / About Us

The Calvin music department, as a teaching and learning community, aims for the development of a Christian mind with which to understand, create, and teach music. To accomplish this, the faculty addresses itself to developing musical skills, knowledge, understanding, and discernment to the end that the richness of musical and pedagogical practices will be shaped by a Christian perspective for lives of service. Recognizing that music is a matter for Christian stewardship, service, and critique, the music department is committed to preparing both music majors and non-majors as listeners, performers, composers, worship leaders, scholars, and educators to serve as agents of redemption throughout the Kingdom of God.

Explore the music department

Ensemble History
  • Orchestra: December 9, 1908 (ten people in the group)
  • Band: 1920–21 (maybe earlier)
  • Oratorio: October 25, 1920 (first performance was March 22, 1921)
  • Men’s Glee Club: November 1917
  • A Capella (Capella): 1935
  • Women’s Chorale: 1945–47, 1965
  • Meistersingers: 1953
  • Gospel Choir: 1980s
Covenant Fine Arts Center
  • 1966: Fine Arts Center is opened and dedicated.
  • 1985: Calvin music department becomes a member of the National Association of Schools of Music.
  • 2009: Fine Arts Center closed for renovations.
  • 2010: Covenant Fine Arts Center reopens with added space and upgrades to the Auditorium and Recital Hall.
  • 2011: Currently 7 full-time faculty, 23 part-time faculty, and 8 staff members.
Covenant Fine Arts Center

Exterior

  • Opened in 1966
  • Renovated in Fall 2010
  • 124,000 square feet in size
Auditorium

Auditorium

  • 1,065 Seats
  • Original "Ceiling of Stars"
  • Handicap accessible stage and seating area
Recital Hall

CFAC Recital Hall

  • 240 Seats
  • 1,000-square-foot stage
  • Accoustics designed and built for music and speech applications
  • Handicap accessible stage and seating area
Practice Rooms
  • 21 practice rooms (including rooms with organs)
  • All equipped with upright or electronic pianos
  • Variety of sizes to accommodate all instruments
  • Located near music professor offices
  • Instrument storage area available
Music Theory Computer Lab
  • 14 work stations
  • 88-key electronic keyboards for every station
  • Industry standard music sequencing and notation software
  • Music theory-drill fundamentals
  • Composition capabilities
Composer Station
  • Vienna symphonic library and high power sequencing tools
  • Film scoring capabilities
  • Set-up for advanced composing and film scoring
Pianos

The college owns pianos in the Covenat Fine Arts Center and around campus in dorm lobbies, the Field House, Commons, Gezon Auditorium, Spoelhof Center, Knollcrest Dining Hall, the Manor House, and the Seminary. Housed in the auditorium are two Steinway concert grands and a Bosendorfer concert grand. Practice rooms, studios, and classrooms are supplied with Steinway, Yamaha, and Boston upright pianos and Kawai electronic pianos for faculty and student use.

Organs
The Bernard D. Zondervan Memorial Organ

The Bernard D. Zondervan Memorial Organ, housed in the Covenant Fine Arts Center auditorium, was built by Schlicker in 1966. The organ has 39 ranks, 32 stops, and tracker action.

The DeWitt Family Organ

The Studio Organ

Located in the Covenant Fine Arts Center 206.

Practice Organs

Located in the Covenant Fine Arts Center, rooms 203 and 204 (rooms specifically reserved for organ practice).

The Becker Positive Organ
Harpsichords

The college owns 2 harpsichords made by Keith Hill. The two-manual “French” harpsichord made in 1981 has three sources of strings, 8’, 8’, and 4’. The single-manual “Italian” harpsichord made in 1988, has four 8’ of strings, a buff stop and a transposing keyboard. To use the harpsichords for practice or recitals, students must get permission from Professor Tim Steele. As these instruments require more frequent tuning, studnets should inform the events manager as early as possible if a harpsichord will be needed in a recital.

String Instruments

Students who are members of a Calvin ensemble or take private lessons and do not own their own instruments may rent from the large supply of string instruments owned by the music department. There is no rental charge for the use of college-owned instruments although the student is responsibile for standard maintenance caused by daily wear and tear. Contact the music department for information on instrument loan.

Llewellyn L. Cayvan String Instrument Scholarship:

Mr. and Mrs. Leo L. Cayvan were long-time supporters of the Calvin music department. In addition to funding several music scholarships, Mr. and Mrs. Cayvan donated an excellent collection of stringed instruments to Calvin. This collection includes a small number of professional-quality instruments that are made available to students as non-monetary scholarship awards. Incoming and returning students are eligible for these awards, which are based on achievement and need. The awards are renewable, pending review by a music faculty committee. Students who are awarded these [non-monetary] Llewellyn L. Cayvan Violin, Viola, Cello or String Bass Scholarships are expected to perform with the Calvin Orchestra and take private lessons. Click here for more information about Calvin's string program. The application form for this award can be found here or you may request a copy from the music department.

Wind, Brass, and Percussion Instruments

Students who are members of a Calvin ensemble or take private lessons and do not own their own instruments may rent from the large supply of wind, brass, and percussion instruments owned by the music department. There is no rental charge for the use of college-owned instruments although the student is responsibile for standard maintenance caused by daily wear and tear. Contact the music department for information on instrument loan.

Handbells

Calvin owns a five-octave set of Malmark handbells and three octaves of choirchimes.

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