Dordt College News

Organ recital honors Ringerwole’s career

March 24, 2005

An organ recital and reception honoring the career and retirement of Dr. Joan Ringerwole, professor of music at Dordt College, will be held Friday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the B.J. Haan Auditorium on the campus of Dordt College.

Dr. Ringerwole will be performing on Dordt’s Casavant organ, and will be accompanied by the Dordt College Chamber Orchestra. The public is cordially invited to attend. Ringerwole

Ringerwole teaches organ at Dordt College and has also taught piano, church music, music theory and literature during her 38-year tenure, beginning in 1967. She was instrumental in the selection of the three-manual tracker-action pipe organ, considered to be among the best in the Midwest when it was installed at Dordt College 25 years ago.

Ringerwole came to Dordt College in 1967, and holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance and pedagogy from the University of Iowa (Delbert Disselhorst instructor); a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York (David Craighead instructor); and an A. B. degree from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan (John Hamersma instructor). A native of Hudsonville, Michigan, Dr. Ringerwole has performed, taught organ workshops and seminars, and served as a judge for professional competitions throughout the United States and Canada. She has made two recordings and her recitals have been broadcast on MPR (Minnesota Public Radio), KWIT (Sioux City), and KDCR (Dordt College). In 1981, 1985, 1988 and 1992, she conducted organ study tours of the Netherlands sponsored by Dordt College. She was featured as guest organist in concert at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in New York City and has played at the prestigious Morman Tabernacle in their Artist Series.

Currently Dr. Ringerwole is organist at First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Center, and is a member of the Sioux Falls Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. She was also nominated for “Who's Who in American Music” in 2005 and Strathmore’s “Who’s Who 2002.”

Ringerwole has written a bibliography of suitable organ literature based on the psalms and hymns for the Psalter Hymnal and Rejoice in the Lord, which has been published by the Christian Reformed Church Board of Publications. She has also contributed to reviews in The Diapason, The American Organist, Pro Rege, and articles in Reformed Worship.

For her retirement concert, Ringerwole will be playing works from Handel and Albinoni with the Dordt Chamber Orchestra, along with selections from Bach, Widor and Duruflé.

Ringerwole’s biggest contribution at Dordt College, she believes, has been in training another generation of organists with private lessons. She believes basic techniques have to be mastered for a person to become a good organist, and carefully watches things such as the placement of the foot, angles of the feet, hand position, and learning registration and hymn playing in addition to stardard repertoire.

As Dr. Ringerwole retires in May, she leaves with memories of study trips with students to great organs in the Netherlands, helping local congregations improve their organs, participating in American Guild of Organists Pipe Organ Encounters for young people, giving over 160 recitals around the country, and working with a multitude of talented and wonderful students.

But she won’t leave it all behind.

She expects to go on playing organ in church, teach some private lessons, and maybe even give an occasional recital. “It’s something I’ll always be able to do,” she concludes.

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