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October 31, 2001

Calvin Unveils New Major

A revised major at Calvin College will equip students to be worship leaders in Christian churches upon graduation. The new Music in Worship major has at its core a broad vision for the role of music in the worship life of churches worldwide.

"The worship life of the church has become so varied," says John Witvliet (left), director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and one of the people who helped frame the new major. "In this new major we want to model for our students how churches can talk and learn about worship-contemporary and traditional churches, Asian and African and North American churches. We don't want this to be a narrow, niche major. We want to give students the skills to become fluent and engage a broad range of styles and congregations. We want to give students the skills to go deeper than style."

The new major will first and foremost teach students to be good musicians. "Church music must not be second-class music," says Witvliet. "We want students who come out of this major to be first-class musicians."

Second, the new major will teach students how to lead church conversations about music in worship. "Churches are asking," says Witvliet, "how worship can be both relevant and profound and how the music we use to worship can be part of that. Churches need theologically trained people to be part of those conversations. Our students will be those people."

Students who take the new major will study courses in the music department such as music history and music theory. They also will specialize in a performance area, such as organ or piano or guitar or composition, and they will take new courses, including a religion department offering on worship and a hands-on musical leadership course."


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Contact Phil de Haan
616-957-6475 (v)
616-957-7069 (f)