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Small classes. A world of opportunity.

To learn music well, you need to be known as an individual. You also need to broaden your understanding of music. Ruth Vanden Bos found that both are possible at Calvin.


  •   Author: Michal Rubingh
  •   Published: July 23, 2019
  •   Categories: People, Alumni
  •   Tags: music
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Music has always been in the air that Ruth Vanden Bos breathes. As the youngest of four kids in a musical family, Ruth didn’t wait long to join the fun. She picked up piano at age six, violin at age nine, and honed her skills all through high school.

When it was time to start thinking about college, Ruth considered what she had in mind. She knew she wanted to go somewhere with plenty of opportunities to explore chamber music and orchestra. She was also looking for a community that felt like home. The music department at Calvin offered her both.

“As a visiting high school senior, I found Calvin and Grand Rapids to be remarkably homey.”

This made Ruth’s transition from her home in Seattle much easier.

Ruth also discovered that Calvin was a place where tight communities formed around shared passions.

“Some of my favorite hours have been spent in a practice room full of friends playing for the sheer bliss that music brings,” she shared. “The culture of the music department is creative and personable; class sizes are small enough that you really get to know your professors, and vice versa.”

That sense of community also carried Ruth through the rigorous nature of her music education.

“You know the saying, ‘Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life’? Whoever said so must not have been a music major,” Ruth explained. “Studying music is work—but I love it! I love the places it’s brought me, the people it’s allowed me to meet, and all the memories formed through these times and spaces.”

Some of Ruth’s favorite memories include extensive touring with her Calvin community. She spent her first interim abroad touring Central America with the orchestra.

And after countless hours of practicing and playing for colleagues, her love of music gave Ruth some rare opportunities, including playing alongside famous musicians.

“Through my violin studies, I’ve toured with Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant—both were incredible experiences,” she reflected.

Ruth fully immersed herself in the opportunities that Calvin offered her, and now she’s looking to explore deeper in orchestral studies. She hopes to eventually work in the theater and film industries.

  •   Author: Michal Rubingh
  •   Published: July 23, 2019
  •   Categories: People, Alumni
  •   Tags: music

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