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Hope College October 2013 : Page 8

A Greater Hope On Shoulders of the I t’s a wonderful statement by Sir Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Newton’s famous observation—written in a 1676 letter to Robert Hooke, but an adaptation of a metaphor dating to the 12th century—is an idea that is being poured into the very foundation of the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts, which will support a program that owes immeasurably to the generations of faculty who have dedicated themselves not only to building a department but to thousands of students across more than a century. It’s a continuum that runs all the way back to Professor John B. Nykerk of the Class of 1885, who as a member of the English faculty founded the department of music in 1904. Many of those students are now giving back, their contributions helping to provide a Giants home both equal to the department of today and capable of helping it achieve new heights for years to come. Some are even honoring cherished mentors specifically, asking that their gifts help name rooms in the building for those whose guidance they continue to appreciate even decades later. So far, for example... ... a piano practice room is being named for Charles Aschbrenner, professor emeritus of music, who taught at Hope from 1963 until retiring in 2008 (and continues to teach in retirement); ... the choral rehearsal room is being named for Robert Cavanaugh , longtime director of the Chapel Choir, who taught at Hope from 1940 until his untimely death in 1976; ...a classroom is being named for Roger Rietberg ’47 , professor emeritus of music, who taught at Hope from 1954 until retiring in 1990, and served as college organist and succeeded Professor Cavanaugh as director of the Chapel Choir; ...and the orchestra rehearsal room is being named for Dr. Robert Ritsema ’57 , professor emeritus of music, who taught at Hope from 1967 until retiring in 1999, and was the longtime director of the Symphonette and Orchestra. Former students are also working with the college to make the same sorts of commitments on behalf of others who were cornerstones of the department, such as the late Dr. Anthony Kooiker. Even as Hope anticipates breaking ground for the new center in the near future, with completion planned for the latter part of 2015, fundraising continues and with it the opportunity for alumni and friends to provide such support for the current naming initiatives or in recognition of the many others across the past 109 years whose impact has been no less significant or enduring. The new Jack H. miller Center for musical Arts will itself be a monument, reflecting the dedicated service of the music faculty across generations. At the same time, the naming of specific rooms within For Dr. Barbara Mackey ’69 of Urbana, Ohio, who graduated as one of the college’s first music-performance majors, supporting the new building was a natural choice, especially since she’s stayed in touch with the college and has seen how the program has developed since her student days. “I’m very interested in the new music building,” said Dr. Mackey, who is active in the arts in her community, including as a performer and teacher of cello. “I’ve been back to Hope a number of times and walked through Nykerk, and they’ve definitely outgrown it.” Dr. Mackey appreciated many of her faculty mentors—“Prof ” Cavanaugh was her advisor—but felt particularly inspired to provide A piano practice room is being named for Charles Aschbrenner, professor emeritus of music. The music program owes immeasurably to the generations of faculty who have dedicated themselves not only to building a department but to thousands of students across more than a century. Many of those students are now giving back, including by honoring cherished mentors specifically through the naming of rooms in the new music center. 8 News News From From Hope Hope College College

A Greater Hope

On the Shoulders of Giants<br /> <br /> It’s a wonderful statement by Sir Isaac Newton:<br /> <br /> “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”<br /> <br /> Newton’s famous observation—written in a 1676 letter to Robert Hooke, but an adaptation of a metaphor dating to the 12th century—is an idea that is being poured into the very foundation of the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts, which will support a program that owes immeasurably to the generations of faculty who have dedicated themselves not only to building a department but to thousands of students across more than a century. It’s a continuum that runs all the way back to Professor John B. Nykerk of the Class of 1885, who as a member of the English faculty founded the department of music in 1904.<br /> <br /> Many of those students are now giving back, their contributions helping to provide a home both equal to the department of today and capable of helping it achieve new heights for years to come. Some are even honoring cherished mentors specifically, asking that their gifts help name rooms in the building for those whose guidance they continue to appreciate even decades later.<br /> <br /> So far, for example...<br /> ... a piano pract ice room is being named for Charles Aschbrenner, professor emeritus of music, who taught at Hope from 1963 until retiring in 2008 (and continues to teach in retirement);<br /> ... the choral rehearsal room is being named for Robert Cavanaugh, longtime director of t he Chape l Choir, who t aught at Hope from 1940 unt il his unt imely de ath in 1976;<br /> ...a classroom is being named for Roger Rietberg ’47, professor emeritus of music, who taught at Hope from 1954 until retiring in 1990, and se rved as college organist and succeeded Professor Cavanaugh as director of the Chapel Choir;<br /> ...and the orchestra rehearsal room is being named for Dr. Robert Ritsema ’57, professor emeritus of music, who taught at Hope from 1967 until retiring in 1999, and was the longtime director of the Symphonette and Orchestra.<br /> <br /> Former students are also working with the college to make the same sorts of commitments on behalf of others who were cornerstones of the department, such as the late Dr. Anthony Kooiker. Even as Hope anticipates breaking ground for the new center in the near future, with completion planned for the latter part of 2015, fundraising continues and with it the opportunity for alumni and friends to provide such support for the current naming initiatives or in recognition of the many others across the past 109 years whose impact has been no less significant or enduring.<br /> <br /> For Dr. Barbara Mackey ’69 of Urbana, Ohio, who graduated as one of the college’s first music-performance majors, supporting the new building was a natural choice, especially since she’s stayed in touch with the college and has seen how the program has developed since her student days.<br /> <br /> “I’m very interested in the new music building,” said Dr. Mackey, who is active in the arts in her community, including as a performer and teacher of cello. “I’ve been back to Hope a number of times and walked through Nykerk, and they’ve definitely outgrown it.”<br /> <br /> Dr. Mackey appreciated many of her faculty mentors—“Prof ” Cavanaugh was her advisor—but felt particularly inspired to provide leadership support for the rehearsal room being named for Dr. Ritsema, who happened to have joined the faculty the same year she enrolled as a transfer student. He became her cello instructor, and she also appreciated his role as conductor of the Symphonette, a group that was a highlight of her time at the college, and values a friendship that continues still.<br /> <br /> “Bob and his wife MaryAlice have always been very nice to me,” she said.<br /> <br /> “I’m fortunate to be able to contribute,” she said. “I’m very grateful that I can do that.”<br /> <br /> Bryan Uecker ’82 of Austin, Texas, and Montague, Mich., was similarly inspired to celebrate the mentorship of Professor Aschbrenner, teaming with Thomas Barthel ’83 of Zurich, Switzerland, to underwrite the naming of one of the center’s practice rooms. Uecker and Professor Aschbrenner even continue to work together today as colleagues, performing four or five concerts each year as part of a four-piano team.<br /> <br /> “He’s a really great teacher: very supportive, really expresses enthusiasm—it’s contagious,” Uecker said.<br /> <br /> His positive experience with Professor Aschbrenner reflected his time in the program in general.<br /> <br /> “It was a great experience,” Uecker said. “I have many fond memories of being at Hope College in the music department.”<br /> <br /> Professor Rietberg and Dr. Ritsema were themselves, of course, shaped by the department of music as undergraduates, their feelings about their experience reflected by the decision each made to return as a me mber of the faculty. While touched and humbled that former students are choosing to honor them, they’re particularly pleased to see mentors and peers receive recognition.<br /> <br /> Professor Rietberg worked especially closely as a st udent with Professor Cavanaugh, who was a fir st-year faculty member when Professor Rietberg was a freshman and quickly became involved in choral activities. He also valued their 20-plus years as Hope colleagues.<br /> <br /> “He was very well liked, and did a great job at Hope,” Professor Rietberg recalled.<br /> <br /> Professor Rietberg and Dr. Ritsema are also thrilled to see the new building becoming a reality. Nykerk Hall of Music opened during Dr. Ritsema’s senior year, and he was chairperson of the department when the Wynand Wichers expansion was completed in 1970. He notes that while state-of-the-art for its era, the building can’t compete with either the demand (600 students participate in the department in any given semester) or the facilities that other schools have built in the years since. The Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts will change all that—with the added benefit of being a resource beyond the college.<br /> <br /> “I think it’s going to do great things not only for Hope but for the community,” he said.<br /> <br /> “The facilities around campus as a whole are just unsurpassed for a school of this size, and the new music center will be a part of that high quality,” Dr. Ritsema said. “In the overall scheme of things, it can’t help but enhance the reputation of the college even more.”<br /> <br /> Dr. Robert Hodson ’89, professor of music and chairperson of the department, is part of the new generation of faculty, carrying on the legacy built by those who came before.<br /> <br /> As a music major himself, he experienced that legacy first-hand. Training as a classical pianist as an unde rgraduate, he worked in particular with Professor Aschbrenner, whose sincere interest lasted well beyond his student days. “I kept in touch with him for many, many years,” Dr. Hodson said.<br /> <br /> It’s no accident that he’s back, a me mber of the faculty himself since 2002.<br /> <br /> “What especially stood out for me at Hope were the close mentoring relationships,” he said. “When I sought a place to teach, I wanted a place where I could develop those sorts of relationships. It was really good to come back here and become part of that tradition for today’s students.”

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