Corina Beimers—Staff Writer
In August of 2017, when Damon Groen began his freshman year at Dordt, the worship arts major did not know the opportunities that awaited him or how the university would shape him as a person. Groen gave back to the university too. Over his four years, he led chapels and praise and worship events with his singing. This culminated with the release of his first EP, Unfinished, this September.
Groen, born and raised in Prinsburg, Minnesota, always had Dordt on his radar. Both his parents are alumni. But he officially decided to enroll after visiting campus and meeting with Jon De Groot, the creator of Dordt’s worship arts program.
Upon enrollment, Groen involved himself in music and leadership. Throughout his time at Dordt, he participated on the chapel worship team, travelled with the chapel team, led praise and worship on campus and at local churches, and finished the production of this EP.
The vision for his album began in May of 2020, a time of uncertainty and frustration for a lot of people, including Groen. He described that time as mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting. Yet, Groen used those emotions and redirected them into his songwriting. The four songs included on the EP– “Treasure Chest,” “How?,” “You’re with Me,” and “Keep Me”– were all written within a five month span during that spring.
“I grabbed my guitar and just journaled, thinking maybe I could write and that would help me get some of this out,” Groen said. “I was just being real with Jesus. I always like to say, ‘He can handle this.’”
Groen didn’t want to create worship music alone, but also devotional music.
“The whole thing about putting music out there is that it’s not yours anymore, it’s not my songs anymore, it’s whoever hears it,” Groen said. “I want people to feel empowered to be creative with what they have because we’re made in the image of God, which means we’re creative.”
Unfinished is the second album produced by Dordt Worship Arts this year, after their Chapel Movements Vol. 1 was released this past May. Groen also contributed to this project, which was recorded live from the B.J Haan. Other members of Dordt’s assisted Groen with his senior project on the production side of the EP.
“Having a collaborative experience was really integral to bringing about this EP,” Groen said. “I want to see others bring their best and not just have my vision but have others’ input and bring out the best in them.”
Groen expressed a deep appreciation for those who had a part in the process, both big and small. Director of Campus Ministries and Worship Arts Jeremy Perigo, Worship Arts Director Alex Priore, former Dordt graduate Rainanda Badudu, and other faculty, students, and alumni are credited on the EP.
“The album is filled with worship, but the process was a beautiful experience of communal worship as all brought their own unique gifts,” Perigo said.
The EP’s title of Unfinished is named for a reason. It’s theologically significant as it signifies the idea of the Christian faith being a work in progress—continually growing and changing.
“These songs tell pieces of my story, and they tell the story of someone who is unfinished in this spiritual journey, in the sense that we are unfinished,” Groen said. “This idea of creation; the story is not finished and will not be until the Lord returns.”