on faculty since 1987
D.M.A., Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, 1994
M.M., Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, 1983
B.A., Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1975
After 20 years of teaching music at Trinity, Helen Hoekema Van Wyck still loves her job. As professor of music and director of choral activities, Van Wyck is dedicated to “building an excellent choral program with enthusiastic student participation, inspiring students to make music a lifetime interest, promoting and nurturing a commitment to excellent music performed well, and honoring God in all I do.”
The Grand Rapids, Michigan, native seeks to create a culture of excellence on campus, not only within her department, but also among the greater Trinity community. Her passion for music hearkens back to her undergraduate days at Calvin College, where she made a decision as a sophomore to be a music major and set the course for her future pursuits. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in secondary vocal music education at Calvin and teaching elementary and junior high music in Michigan, she continued her studies and graduated from Michigan State University with both a master of music and doctor of musical arts degree in choral conducting.
Under the guidance of “wonderful teachers, mentors, and conductors” such as Howard Slenk (Calvin College), Anton Armstrong (Calvin Alumni Choir), Charles K. Smith (Michigan State University), Robert Shaw (choral workshops and performances), and Helmuth Rilling (Oregon Bach Festival), Van Wyck’s love of both music and teaching flourished.
“These professionals have modeled musical excellence and lifelong commitment in away that has deepened my faith and my musical understanding,” said Van Wyck. Her greatest joys as a professor are the daily interactions with students where she is part of a communal expression of praise to God in music. Whether rehearsing choirs or performing before an audience, Van Wyck finds gratification in helping students to grow and develop their musical abilities and confidence.
According to Van Wyck, Trinity offers multiple advantages to both students and faculty. Being able to teach in a Christian environment located on the doorstep of a city like Chicago provides unparalleled opportunities for exploring a variety of musical avenues. The College combines the benefits of a small campus with a great sense of community as well as the opportunities afforded by close proximity to a major cultural center.
Van Wyck is probably the only Trinity professor who can make claim to a Grammy, awarded to the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus and Orchestra, conducted by Helmuth Rilling, for Penderecki’s Credo, which won best choral performance of 2000. She has also been part of the chorus for two new CD releases: F. J. Haydn’s Creation Mass, recorded in 2006, and Haydn’s Teresa Mass, recorded in 2007, by the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus and orchestra. Van Wyck has participates in other professional organizations such as the New Classic Singers, Bella Voce, and performs as a mezzo-soprano soloist.
The Palos Heights resident attends Hope Christian Reformed Church in Oak Forest, Illinois, with her husband of nearly 30 years, Marv. Music is part of her daily routine and she always finds time to listen to her iPod. When not singing, conducting or teaching, Van Wyck enjoys exercise and sports of all kinds, especially swimming and biking.
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