Choral Director / Randy VanWingerden
In all of the choirs here at GRCHS we seek to foster a love of good choral music, develop life skills that enable singers to continue using their talents well after high school, but ultimately our primary goal is to praise God with the gifts He has given us.
The Choral Music program at Grand Rapids Christian HS consists of four choirs, three that meet every day- Chamber Chorale, A Cappella Choir, Women’s Chorus, Our men’s group named “Only Men Aloud” meets during the noon hour twice a week. All of the choirs perform in our major concerts of the year: fall concert- “Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs”; “A Christmas Celebration”; Pre Festival concert in February; a spring concert with a different theme each year. Every other year we perform in a “major works” concert with our band and orchestra. All of our choirs participate in District Choir Festival in February, and those that receive Superior ratings typically go on to State Choir Festival in May. In the last few years all of our groups have qualified for State Choir Festival!
Women’s Chorus is primarily for freshman and sophomore girls but is also open to junior and senior girls. In this choir we work at building the foundation for progressing into A Cappella or Chamber Chorale by devoting time to: developing a healthy, supported, free of tension choral tone; the study of theory; sight reading using the Solfege moveable “Do” system; low breathing techniques.
The A Cappella Choir is the large mixed choir made up of seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshman boys. This choir does not limit its repertoire to a cappella music but does focus on music suitable for larger choirs from the master composers to Broadway and Spirituals. For the girls coming out of Women’s chorus we seek to build on the skills and knowledge started there. For those who are new to GRCHS choirs we try, early in the year, to develop some of the knowledge and skills necessary for the level of this group.
Chamber Chorale is the smaller, select ensemble of juniors and seniors. Membership is by audition only. This choir averages 25-30 performances a year for church services, community groups, school assemblies, etc. This group has received many awards. Some highlights: in 2006 and 2010 they received a perfect score from all three judges at Michigan School Vocal Music Association State Choir Festival; in 2006, 2010 and 2011 the group was selected to perform at the Youth Arts Festival as one of two “Outstanding Choirs” in the State of Michigan; in 2009 the Chamber Chorale was selected to perform at the Michigan Music Conference.
Randall Van Wingerden has been the choir director since 2005. Mr. Van Wingerden received a Bachelor of Music Degree in K-12 Vocal Music Education in 1977 from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan and a Master of Arts in Teaching Degree from Calvin College in 1990. Randy has taught vocal and general music at Eastern Christian Schools in North Haledon, New Jersey- 1977-80; Calvin Christian High School and Middle School in Grandville, Michigan- 1980-2005. In addition to choirs and general music at Calvin Christian, Mr. Van Wingerden taught middle school keyboarding and high school American History, co-directed the musicals, as well as coached baseball and softball. Since the fall of 2005 Randy has taught choirs 9-12 at Grand Rapids Christian High School.
Choirs under his direction, at both middle school and high school levels, have consistently received Excellent and Superior ratings at District and State Choir Festivals.
Since 1988 Mr. Van Wingerden has been a member of the Calvin College Alumni Choir under conductors Anton Armstrong, Charles Smith and presently Pearl Shangkuan. Since 1993 he has also been the assistant conductor of this group. Since 2008 Randy has been the assistant conductor of the Calvin College Oratorio Society.
Mr. Van Wingerden has served the Michigan School Vocal Music Association in a variety of capacities; four years as District 10 Manager, three years as high school Region A/SSAA Honors Choir manager, two years as high school Honors Choir Coordinator, and is in his twelfth year as Executive Board Director of Honors Choirs. In 1997 he conducted the 7-8-9 SATB State Honors Choir, and in 2007 the 7-8-9 SSA State Honors Choir.
Randy is a Lifetime Member of the American Choral Director’s Association.
Randy lost his first wife to cancer in 2003 and now resides in Wyoming, MI with his wife Victoria. His two daughters, Kaeta and Amy live and work in the Grand Rapids area. He also has two step-daughters, Heather and Tiffany. Grand-daughter Loralei Ann is grandpa’s “little peanut”.
Grand Rapids Christian High School Spring Choir Concert: Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 7:30pm