Nov 22, 2022

Dordt harpist releases two tracks of instrumental worship

Hannah is pictured playing the harp

Dordt Worship recently released two new tracks of instrumental worship that feature recent Dordt University graduate and harpist Hannah Bursgma and Director of Campus Ministries and Worship Arts and saxophonist Rev. Dr. Jeremy Perigo.

The tracks can be found at:



Apple Music

Burgsma began playing the harp when she was eight years old. “While many virtuosic pieces can be played on this instrument, I love creating music that brings peace, calm, and joy to my soul and others, and this instrument has the ability to capture all those things well,” she says.

She has been playing in Dordt’s worship ensembles for the past few years, says Perigo. “When I heard her own arrangement of ‘The Hope Melody’ played at her senior recital, I thought, ‘We have to record this and share it with our community,’” he says. “We then decided to collaborate, adding ‘As the Deer’ with the soprano saxophone and harp featured. What a delight to work together to create these moments of musical worship.”

What Burgsma enjoyed most about creating the tracks was the process of reflecting the power of the words—“how this music spoke to me and how it could speak to others, even without words,” she says.

“The Hope Medley” opens with an original interpretation of “As the Deer” from Psalm 42, where Burgsma arranged a somber melody to depict a deer who is literally panting for water. The melody, she says, then resolves to the major as the deer clings to hope in God at the end of the psalm.

“A cadenza leads upward to a joyful presentation of ‘Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,’ which depicts the strength God gives us to have hope in the hard times, but also how the believer is given the gift of joy in times of blessing from above,” she explains. “A downward cadenza leads into a beautiful, rolled B minor chord which begins the slow, majestic arrangement of ‘Be Still my Soul,’ which represents the peace and strength that comes from our souls resting in Jesus throughout whatever may come our way.”

The piece concludes with a final restatement of the minor introductory motif, representing yet another struggle of the soul, which then modulates back to the major key, utilizing motifs from the first two hymn melodies, she adds. These melodies lead to a final hymn melody "He has Made me Glad" to “reiterate yet again that our emptiness does not have the final word, but the abundant peace and gladness Christ brings.”

Burgsma is grateful for her former teacher, Anna Vorhes, for her encouragement. She is also grateful for the support of friends and family who have supported her in her musical career.

“I am very thankful to Dordt Worship for being the means by which the creation of these pieces were possible,” she says. “It is my prayer that whoever listens to this project would truly be blessed richly by how God speaks through these songs to us.”

About Dordt University

As an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective, Dordt University equips students, faculty, alumni, and the broader community to work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life. For six years in a row, Dordt has been named number one in the nation for student engagement by The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education. Located in Sioux Center, Iowa, Dordt is a comprehensive university named to the best college lists by U.S. News and World Report, the Wall Street Journal,, Washington Monthly, Princeton Review, and more.

A picture of campus behind yellow prairie flowers