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Dordt College News

Passing hymns from one generation to the next

March 14, 2014

Classic hymns have fed believers for hundreds of years. Music Department Co-Chair Karen DeMol and Campus Ministries Coordinator Jon De Groot want to make sure that they continue to do so.
De Groot and DeMol have compiled a list of 50 hymns that Dordt’s worship, music, and other programs will use regularly, so that students will graduate knowing a body of loved and familiar hymns.

Approaching this task, according to De Groot, was “daunting.” Although there are certainly more than 50 fine classic hymns, De Groot and DeMol chose 50 as a “manageable number of hymns that students could learn by the time they graduate.” With many of today’s students coming from a wider range of faith backgrounds, De Groot and DeMol realize that not all students know the same songs. DeMol explains that the list she and De Groot compiled includes songs that cross denominations and have lasted through time. These hymns are “owned by the church with a capital C—the ecumenical church,” she said.

The first step in compiling the list of 50 hymns began last summer. De Groot and DeMol went through hymnals, creating an initial list of more than 75 hymns. They then asked seven faculty members from several departments to choose their top 50 hymns from the list and to add to the list any others they thought should be considered. A second vote gave them the 50 hymns that will be sung regularly at Dordt College.

Those who participated found that choosing just 50 from a list of excellent hymns proved challenging. De Groot and DeMol note that the list does not include songs for specific seasons on the church calendar, such as Advent and Easter.

Now that the collection has been selected, worship leaders, including De Groot, will use these hymns as they plan chapel and praise and worship services. De Groot believes that because of the popularity of many of the hymns chosen, “most students will be surprised at how many hymns they know.” He hopes this new practice will enrich worship and spiritual growth for students, both while they are at Dordt and after they graduate.

In the music department, professors will use these hymns when examples are needed in teaching and assign them as musical pieces. Through repeated use, DeMol expects that music students will all become familiar with the 50 hymns.

DeMol has already received requests from outside the college community for the list, and De Groot is hearing positive campus response to the hymns’ familiarity. 


ELIZABETH RILEY ('15)

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