Music is the Food of Love: May We Lift up and Love our Global Neighbors

Keen on clear, translucent, and colorful sound and communication, Dr. Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra thrives as hymn festival designer and leader, international concert and liturgical artist (Fleur de Son and Windwerk Artists), composer, conductor, pedagogue, and author. She frequently concertizes and teaches on antique organs, harpsichords, and clavichords in North America and Europe, and strives to discover and reveal the beautiful soul of each instrument.

A passionate advocate for marginalized populations, Ruiter-Feenstra’s newest hymn texts, concertatos, organ, carillon, clavichord, and piano improvisations and compositions focus on social justice themes and collaborations, to reveal the beautiful soul of each person. She became intrigued with the public, powerful, peaceful potential that carillon bells have to lift up the voices of global sisters and brothers that have been silenced historically through the present. As a 2017 recipient of a Ronald Barnes Scholarship grant from the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, she interviewed individuals from Arab and Muslim, African American, Jewish, and Latina/o communities. Inspired by their voices, she composed four pieces for carillon (Mourning Call, Earth Blood Reprise, A Voice of Weeping, and Border ID) in a collection entitled Belonging: A Carillon Call to Care for All.  Two other recent carillon compositions that ring out against injustices are Our Time: Me Too and Enough is Enough: SketchesShe seeks to empower children (see more under Muse) and adults to find their voices to stand up and speak their truth.

Ruiter-Feenstra's explorations as Senior Researcher with an international team at the Göteborg Organ Art Center in Sweden culminated in her acclaimed publications, Bach and the Art of ImprovisationVolumes I–II, and her CDs of Franz Tunder’s Organ Works on the new North German organ in Göteborg, Sweden. Her subsequent CDs are: Bach, the Liturgical Year and Improvisations (organ), Froberger on the 1658 De Zentis (harpsichord), Bach’s Teacher Böhm and Improvisations (harpsichord). In her newest CD (2018), Ruiter-Feenstra performs her own organ compositions in Ruiter-Feenstra on Richards, Fowkes & Co. Organs.  As Professor of Music at Eastern Michigan University, Ruiter-Feenstra conducted the Collegium Musicum (choral–orchestral) and taught organ, harpsichord, and improvisation. In performance, conducting, and teaching, she highlights expressive musical paradoxes of vulnerability and strength, gentleness and intensity, clarity and color.

As a parent and pedagogue, Ruiter-Feenstra addresses the essential multidisciplinary art of learning to sing and singing to learn in her four volumes of a cappella songs with movement and activities for children and adults. In Muse in Peace, Muse at Work, Muse for the Soul, and Muse at School, she teaches about world peacemakers, finding peace within, academic subjects, psalms and liturgical topics, and the building blocks of music theory and listening. Muse is Ruiter-Feenstra’s action to keep music in the schools, promote access to the arts among underprivileged populations (most recently Detroit Public Schools). With sensory integration and singing, Muse offers resources to classroom, music, church, synagogue, and homeschool teachers to empower tomorrow’s peacemakers. Ruiter-Feenstra resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her spouse, two children, and petite golden doodle.

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Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra