The department of music at Hope College has received a 10-year renewal of its accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

The department has been accredited since 1959, and values
the distinction.

"It's a source of endorsement and validation because it
means that our program meets the standards expected of a school of
music," said Dr. Wesley Ball, associate professor of music and
chair of the department. "I think it's especially important for a
smaller school like Hope: it contributes to our credibility."

Hope is the only private, four-year, liberal arts college
in the nation to be accredited in all four of the fine arts: art,
dance, music and theatre. The department of music was identified
as one of the 40 best music departments in the country in 1994's
"The College Finder."

Hope offers a bachelor of arts degree in music, as well
as two bachelor of music degrees: one in performance, the other in
music education.

The department of music has 11 full-time and 27 part-time
faculty members. About 80 students have declared music as their
major area of study, but Ball notes that hundreds are involved in
the program at any given time.

"The best way to look at that would be to come to
Christmas Vespers or to attend the DeVos Musical Showcase," he
said. "I think that's the unique character of Hope College.
Students in all majors who want to participate in music may--not
because they're forced to do so, but because they enjoy it."

The department coordinates dozens of concerts each year,
most featuring student performers. Students also get involved in
music beyond the campus, including as choir directors and organists
in area churches, teaching private lessons, or as members of area
symphony orchestras, choirs and jazz groups.

Graduates of the department work in the field in a
variety of ways, and many continue their studies at leading
graduate schools.