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WIU Chapter of American Guild of Organists Organize Hymn Festival

April 10, 2016 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm


The Western Illinois University Chapter of the American Guild of Organists will present a hymn festival at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 10 at the First Presbyterian Church, 400 E. Carroll St., Macomb.

The hymn festival, titled “Images of God,” will be led by guest conductor and organist Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra of Ann Arbor, MI.

The festival will incorporate familiar hymns and will introduce new hymns in a variety of ways.

One of the highlights of the festival will be the world premier of Ruiter-Feenstra’s hymn concertato, “Too Often, God Your Name is Used,” which is based on a text by Thomas Troeger. Singing choirs from the First Christian Church, First Presbyterian Church, Trinity Lutheran Church and Wesley United Methodist Church will participate. Additional support will be provided by the hand bell choirs from the First Presbyterian Church and Wesley United Methodist Church. Featured brass players will include James Caldwell and David Wetmore.

In addition to the hymn festival, Ruiter-Feenstra will offer a three-part improvisation workshop from 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, April 9 in Browne Hall, room 219.

Designed for pianists and organists, the workshop will focus on ideas for group lessons, or fun ways to start improvising. Ruiter-Feenstra will also lead a sample of her own publications, “Muse at Work, Muse at School, Muse for the Soul and Muse in Peace,” a four-volume set of a cappella songs composed to teach children multi-disciplinary music, movement and improvisation. “Muse at Work” is an innovative approach to multi-sensorial music theory applications. Bach and improvisation will demonstrate how to find new ideas from J.S. Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier, Prelude #1,” as a prototype for additional improvisational study. The clues are in Bach’s music.

Ruiter-Feenstra brings new life to historic improvisation pedagogy in her acclaimed publications, “Bach and the Art of Improvisation” (professional-level keyboard improvisation), “Muse in Peace, Muse at School, Muse for the Soul and Muse at Work,” published by CHI Press.

An international performer and pedagogue, Ruiter-Feenstra composes liturgical organ and choral works; conducts hymn festivals, choral and chamber music ensembles; leads choral, historic keyboard and sacred music workshops, including at the Smarano (Italy) International Organ and Improvisation Academy and the Göteborg (Sweden) International Organ Academy. She was a featured artist and clinician at the 2014 National Conference of the American Guild of Organists in Boston and Director of the AGO 2014 Pipe Organ Encounters Advanced for high school students.

From 1989–96, Ruiter-Feenstra served as a professor of music at Bethany College, then professor of music, university organist and director of Collegium Musicum at Eastern Michigan University from 1996–08. During 1996–02, Ruiter-Feenstra was engaged as senior researcher, pedagogue and performer of historic improvisation at the international Göteborg (Sweden) Organ Art Center (GOArt).

Her CDs include “Tunder Organ Works” and “Bach, the Liturgical Year” and “Improvisation” (; and on the harpsichord: “Froberger on the 1658 De Zentis” and “Bach’s Teacher Böhm and Improvisation” (

Ruiter-Feenstra is a Fleur De Son Classics recording artist and on the roster of Windwerk Artists (

Ruiter-Feenstra received the DMA and MFA degrees in organ performance and pedagogy, with emphases in conducting, sacred music and music theory from the University of Iowa. Her undergraduate degree in organ performance and choral music education is from the Dutch immigrant school, Dordt College. Her postdoctoral work focused on historic keyboard instruments in Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden and Italy.

Ruiter-Feenstra’s mentors include Delbert Disselhorst, Delores Bruch, Harald Vogel, William Porter, Edoardo Bellotti, historic instruments and builders and decades of colleagues, collaborators and students.

All events are open to the public, free of charge. For additional information, contact AGO Chapter Dean and WIU organ Instructor Linda Andrews at (309) 833-3333 or (309) 333-4605.



April 10, 2016
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm


First Presbyterian Church
400 E. Carroll St.
Macomb, IL 61455 United States
(309) 833-3333