Jacqueline Getchell – Staff Writer
On Saturday, Dordt students and faculty had the pleasure of hearing their own Dr. Carrie Groenewold perform a wide variety of organ pieces in the B.J. Haan Auditorium. This was her first performance at Dordt since she started last year, as Dordt’s Joan Ringerwole Chair of Church Music and Organ.
In a display of diverse organ compositions, she played pieces ranging from the early baroque period to modern composers. Groenewold set out in this performance to further introduce herself to the Dordt community as well as demonstrate the beauty and diversity of the organ.
Groenewold first played the organ when she came to Dordt Discovery Days in junior high. She was “thrilled” of being in charge of and surrounded by so much sound. It led her to pursue the instrument.
“Making music even during the worst of times becomes even more important.”
As she learned more about it, Groenewold started to “love its capacity for leading congregational singing,” and is “passionate about training organists especially” to be equipped to play their home churches. Groenewold also enjoys the amount of diversity the organ provides with no two organs being identical. Because of its history, the organ also has a larger repertoire written for it than any instrument besides the voice.
When asked about performing amidst COVID-19 concerns, Groenewold said “making music even during the worst of times becomes even more important.” She has a strong belief that God speaks through music. And as such, it is important that we keep making music.
Though live streamed concerts have become more popular during this time, “there is nothing like sitting and hearing a live concert, Groenewold said. On Wednesday, before the concert, she said she was looking forward to the audience hearing the combination of delicate and powerful sounds on the organ.
“There is nothing like that.” She said.
This year, Dordt boasts a record number of organ students at seventeen. That number is similar in size to the number of organ students at St. Olaf, a school with a population nearly twice Dordt’s student body.
Groenewold says she is thrilled by the interest in organ this semester and the numbers show that the organ is still an important part of the music program.
“We are blessed to have an environment where we can cultivate that instrument.” She said. After years away from Dordt pursuing further education, including experiences in Europe and serving as organist-choirmaster and director of music in churches, Groenewold returned because she “always had passion in her heart for Dordt.”
With tears in her eyes, Groenewold said she “couldn’t resist that call” to return to Dordt. She loves the university for what it stands for – “a Reformed community that cultivates faith and scholarship”- and she wanted to be a part of that again.