More than a musician: Dale Grotenhuis

If anyone mentioned the name Dale Grotenhuis to a random student on campus, chances are the only information known about the former music aficionado is that he recently passed away. This is, of course, true – on August 17, Dale Grotenhuis, former professor of music here at Dordt College, passed away after a short battle with cancer. But it would be a shame if that was all students knew of Dale Grotenhuis. Luckily, Professor Grotenhuis’ grandson, Jonny, is a student here at Dordt, and was able to offer a first-hand perspective on the former Dordt great.

Dordt began as a two-year institution, and from the very beginning was competing with Northwestern to obtain students. Luckily, only a few years after the college opened, BJ Haan contacted Grotenhuis and asked him to be a part of the music department. Grotenhuis accepted and soon began transforming the department into a shining beacon for all those interested in studying music. Even today, Dordt’s music department is one of the school’s most well-respected and successful programs.

Grotenhuis was more than a music professor at Dordt. For 35 years he published more than 260 pieces of music. He was a man who put his heart and soul into promoting Dordt College and its music department. In fact, Grotenhuis was, according to his grandson, senior Johnny Grotenhuis, “a huge promoter.” Grotenhuis would go around to small towns in the Midwest, putting on concerts in order to promote the school. “He was a very, very, very hard worker,” said Grotenhuis. Without him, Dordt may have been a very different place.

Of course, Calvin College would also be a different place without him. As a first semester freshman, Grotenhuis wrote the alma mater that Calvin still uses to this day. And if that wasn’t enough, Grotenhuis also wrote Dordt’s alma mater, along with directing multiple choirs and bands throughout his tenure here at the college.

Many have lost the opportunity to know the great Professor G (as his students called him), but his memory will always live on. He was a hard worker, a gifted musician, but even more importantly, a man who loved people, loved students, and loved doing backflips on the tour bus.

Alex Updike, Staff Writer

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