posted March 26, 2002

Organist Finishes Second in National Competition

Susan DeKam, a Hope College senior from Caledonia, is second nationally among the nation's college- student organists.

DeKam, who started playing the organ during her freshman year at Hope, placed second in the collegiate organ performance competition during the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) annual conference. The conference was held in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Saturday-Wednesday, March 16- 20.

She qualified for the national competition with wins at the state and divisional level earlier during the school year. A total of four organists competed at the national level.

Although DeKam started playing the organ as a Hope student, under the tutelage of Dr. Huw Lewis of the Hope music faculty, she has been studying the piano since she was seven years old, and is a piano performance major.

She recently performed both instruments during Hope's 14th annual Musical Showcase on Monday, March 4: as a pianist with a trio and as a featured organist with the college's orchestra. On Wednesday, April 24, she will present her senior piano recital in Dimnent Memorial Chapel at 8 p.m.

DeKam's activity in the department of music includes having formerly played French horn with the college's Wind Symphony. She currently serves as an organist part-time with Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids.

In June, she plans to conduct a concert tour in Romania with the others in her Musical Showcase trio: violinist Titus Munteanu of Brasov, Romania, and cellist Nicholas Toben of Troy. She will begin graduate studies, in organ, in the fall.

DeKam is the daughter of Tracy and Carol DeKam of Caledonia. She is a 1998 graduate of South Christian High School in Grand Rapids.

The MTNA is the oldest professional non-profit music association in the United States, and is comprised of 24,000 independent and collegiate music teachers of all instruments, including voice.

The MTNA holds five national competitions annually for elementary through college-age students: in student composition, junior high school performance, high school performance, collegiate artist performance and collegiate chamber music performance. Performance competition areas include brass, guitar, organ, percussion, piano, strings, voice and woodwinds.

The organ competition required each entrant to perform four pieces: a major work by J.S. Bach, a piece written before Bach, a piece written after 1950 and a Romantic work. DeKam's program consisted of the "Prelude and Fugue in D, BWV 532," by Bach; "Recit de Tierce en Taille," by Nicolas de Grigny; "Scherzo," from "Organbook III," by William Albright; and "Fantasy and Fugue on the Name B-A-C-H," by Franz Liszt.