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Hope Music Alumni
David Bellows ’04 graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance, studying with Huw Lewis. Recently David also completed a Masters in Organ Literature and Performance at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Hans Davidsson. He serves as the Music Director of Trinity Reformed Church, Rochester, NY.
Dr. Susan De Kam '02 completed her undergraduate studies at Hope with a major in piano, studying under Joan Conway. It was in her freshman year there that she began studying organ as a secondary instrument with Huw Lewis, but it soon became her principal interest. In 2004, Susan earned her Master of Music degree from The University of Michigan. She studied organ with late, legendary Robert Glasgow, piano with Louis Nagel, and harpsichord with Edward Parmentier. As an organist and pianist, Susan has become a well-rounded musician not only through her solo concertizing on both instruments, but also as an accompanist, chamber musician, and teacher. In addition to being the recipient of numerous prizes and awards for her performances on piano and organ, she has been a prizewinner in the Music Teachers National Association Collegiate Organ Competition (2002), the Miami International Organ Competition (2006), the Bank District Organ Competition (2009) held in London, and the National Young Artists’ Competition in Organ Performance (NYACOP) (2010). She also was a semi-finalist in the Bach/Liszt International Organ Competition, held in Weimar, Germany (2008). Susan recently completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Organ Performance at the University of Michigan where she studied with James Kibbie. She serves as Artist-in-Residence at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Dallas and maintains a private organ, piano, and harpsichord studio.
Christopher Dekker ’09 graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance, and has also gone on to attain a Masters Degree in music at Central Michigan University where he studied with Dr. Steve Egler. Chris is currently the Director of Music at Trinity United Methodist Church in Grand Rapids, where he directs five of the church's eight choirs in addition to the orchestra, oversees the concert series, and serves as Chancel Organist for services. He is currently the sub-dean of the Grand Rapids chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and has given recitals in seven different states.
Leah Hottel ’11 is Hope’s most recent graduate of the Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance degree program. She came to Hope knowing that she wanted to serve a church when she graduated. While a student, she found another love in arts management through her internships with the Holland Symphony Orchestra, the Holland Area Arts Council, and the Chamber Music Festival of Saugatuck. Upon graduation, Leah was hired full-time as the Executive Assistant to the Artistic Director at Credo Chamber Music in Oberlin, OH.
Peter Kurdziel ‘96 graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance. He is the Director of Music Ministries at the Basilica of Saint Adalbert in Grand Rapids (shortened). While at Hope, Peter studied organ with Huw Lewis, and then went on to the University of Notre Dame where he was a student of Craig Cramer. He is currently pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) as a student of Dana Robinson. In addition to the organ, Peter has also studied voice, conducting, harpsichord, and theology at the graduate level. Peter is the dean of the Muskegon-Lakeshore Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and a member of the National Pastoral Musicians. He has been a clinician for both of these organizations as well as for the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria. His article on the use of the pipe organ in the multicultural context was published in AIM.
Richard Newman ‘06 graduated from Hope with a Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance where he studied organ with Huw Lewis. Richard received many awards and scholarships upon entering Hope, including the Distinguished Artist Award and the Freshman Music Prize. He was the first recipient of the Gertrude Beckman Organ Scholarship of Fourteenth Street Christian Reformed Church in Holland. Richard was also the organist for Second Reformed Church of Zeeland, MI. While at Second Reformed Church, he initiated the church's first Solemn Evensong, according to the liturgy of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. In May 2005, Richard was a choir member and organist for the Hope College Chapel Choir European Tour. He played organs throughout France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Recently, Richard accompanied the choirs from All Saint's Church, Worcester, MA for their tour to Gloucester, Hereford, and Worcester Cathedrals in England. Richard has studied harpsichord with Edward Parmentier at the University of Michigan School of Music where he is continuing his organ studies with Dr. James Kibbie while in pursuit of a doctoral degree in Church Music. Before his recent appointment as Associate Organist at St. Paul's Cathedral in Detroit, Richard was Organ Scholar at St. John's Episcopal Church, also in Detroit.
Abigail Rockwood ’06 graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance. Abbie began her organ studies with Dr. Huw Lewis at Hope where she majored in music, with minors in French and mathematics. Ms. Rockwood was a Hope College Trustee Scholar, as well as a Lilly Scholar. After graduating from Hope, Ms. Rockwood went on to earn her M.Mus. in organ performance, studying organ with Todd Wilson at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She completed her Masters Degree in 2008, and immediately took the position of Assistant Organist-Choirmaster at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Buffalo, NY. During her time at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Ms. Rockwood worked with Choirmaster Jeremy Bruns, acted as Interim Organist-Choirmaster, and currently works with Choirmaster Jonathan Scarozza. During her time as Interim Organist-Choirmaster, she oversaw all music for the Cathedral. She also directed the choirs of Boys, Girls, and Men on a choir tour to three prestigious Anglican churches: St. Mary the Virgin in New York City, Church of the Advent in Boston, and the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. Currently, Ms. Rockwood is responsible for much of the service playing at St. Paul’s, and also works hard to maintain the choir training system for the boys’ and girls’ choirs. In addition to her work at St. Paul’s, Ms. Rockwood is beginning work on her Doctorate, studying organ with David Higgs at the Eastman School of Music.