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Calvin Prof Wins CRC Contest
September 13, 2006

A Calvin College music professor has won a song-writing contest sponsored by the Christian Reformed Church as part of the denomination's 150th anniversary plans.

Bert Polman wrote "God, We Sing Your Glorious Praises” and set it to the tune of "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” intending the four-verse hymn to fit both traditional and contemporary styles of worship.

The CRC sesquicentennial planning committee hopes to hear the hymn sung at churches across the continent in 2007, and beyond.

"There’s something wonderful about a song that’s sung across the denomination to help us celebrate this special event,” says Joyce Borger, a member of the 150th anniversary sub-committee who led a three-judge panel through a selection process that included 50 entries.

The text will be included in the Sesquicentennial Worship Resource Book, which will be sent to all Christian Reformed churches. In addition the text of the song and the scored music will be available on the denomination’s web site at

Borger says Polman's winning entry was marked by both a familiar melody and wonderful words.

“It was the text that stood out,” she says, "and the tune is familiar and crosses various musical styles.”

Polman, a Dordt College graduate and long-time CRC member, is in his second year as music professor at Calvin after teaching for 20 years at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ont.

Founded in 1857, the Christian Reformed Church in North America will celebrate its sesquicentennial in three parts—remembering, rejoicing, rededicating—under the theme “Grace Through Every Generation.”

In addition to Polman’s winning composition, the judges recognized four other songs as runners-up to reflect the diversity of styles of music.

Entries by Greg Scheer of Grand Rapids, Susan Greydanus of Ely, England (formerly of Listowel, Ont.,), Larry Visser of Grand Rapids and Amy Brown of Newport, Maine, received honorable mention. These compositions will also be available as downloadable files from the CRC web site.

Interestingly both Visser and Scheer also have connections to Calvin.

Visser is a part-time organ instructor for the college and Scheer is a part-time music associate at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.