The Calvin University music program, 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 program 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 program
- Orchestra: December 9, 1908 (ten people in the group)
- Band: 1920–21
- 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 program 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.
- Today: Currently 6 full-time faculty, 8 part-time faculty, 6 staff members, and 20 private lesson instructors.
Covenant Fine Arts Center
- Opened in 1966
- Renovated in Fall 2010
- 124,000 square feet in size
- 1,065 Seats
- Original "Ceiling of Stars"
- Handicap accessible stage and seating area
- 240 Seats
- 1,000-square-foot stage
- Accoustics designed and built for music and speech applications
- Handicap accessible stage and seating area
- 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 Technology Lab
Our digital music lab is used for teaching music technology, keyboard musicianship, songwriting, and music theory courses. It is also available for all music students to use for their creative work.
The lab houses twelve stations, each outfitted with the following:
- State-of-the-art iMac computers
- Yamaha digital pianos
- Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 audio interfaces
- Logic Pro X
- Reason 11
- Sibelius with Note Performer
- Native Instruments Komplete (includes Kontakt, Massive, Absynth, Reaktor, and a substantial library of sampled instruments)
- Melodyne Essentials
Our composer workstation is similar to the music technology lab, but includes:
- Finale 26 software
- Software instruments by XL Audio, Arturia, and Spectrasonics (Omnisphere)
- Dual displays
- Studio monitors
- Vienna symphonic library and high-power sequencing tools
- Vocal recording station
- Film scoring capabilities
- Set-up for advanced composing and film scoring
The university 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.
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.
Located in the Covenant Fine Arts Center, rooms 203 and 204 (rooms specifically reserved for organ practice).
The Becker Positive Organ
The university 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.
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 program. There is no rental charge for the use of university-owned instruments although the student is responsibile for standard maintenance caused by daily wear and tear. Contact the music program 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 program. 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 program.
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 program. There is no rental charge for the use of university-owned instruments although the student is responsibile for standard maintenance caused by daily wear and tear. Contact the music program for information on instrument loan.
Calvin owns a five-octave set of Malmark handbells and three octaves of choirchimes.
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