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Harold Paul Geerdes Collection



Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence On and Plans for Calvin's Fine Arts Center

Music Programs


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Harold Paul Geerdes Collection, 1936 - 1991 | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

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Collection Overview

Title: Harold Paul Geerdes Collection, 1936 - 1991

ID: COLL/091

Primary Creator: Harold Paul Geerdes (1916-2002)

Extent: 3.0 Boxes. More info below.

Arrangement: Folder level description

Subjects: Calvin College - Fine Arts Center, Calvin College. Department of Music

Forms of Material: Music


Professor of music at Calvin College, director of the Calvin Oratorio Society, and director of instrumental music program in Grand Rapids Christian Schools. The collection includes articles, correspondence, programs, and records regarding the planning of the Fine Arts Center at Calvin College, manuscript of the "Bi-Centennial Music Handbook," and newspaper clippings. [See also the Campus Titles Database.]

Biographical Note

Harold Paul Geerdes was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 5, 1916. Geerdes attended Calvin College and graduated with an education degree in 1937. During his time at Calvin, Geerdes’ passion for music led him to be a part of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra. It was at the Symphony where Geerdes studied conducting under the Russian conductor Nikolai Malko in the 1940s.  Geerdes’ other passion, education, led him to a career as a music teacher at Christian and public schools. He also worked part-time at Calvin College as a music assistant. He also had a brief stint working at J. and J. Music Shop in Grand Rapids.

In 1955, Geerdes joined Calvin College’s faculty full-time as associate professor of music. He was very involved with Calvin’s music programs, he taught courses on conducting, acoustics, chamber music, and interim term courses. He also served on the programming committee for Calvin’s Fine Arts Center as well as the concert manager for the music department and directed the recording services on campus.  He served as conductor of the Calvin Band and Orchestra for twenty years. Geerdes also started the Knollcrest Music camp, which provided a summer day camp for students interested in music in grades 6 to 12. In 1967, Geerdes served as the director of the Calvin Oratorio Society.

Geerdes retired from the classroom in 1979. Although retired, Geerdes’ life was far from relaxing. The Saint Cecilia Music Society in Grand Rapids extended the position of executive director, which he gladly accepted. He also started his own acoustical firm. In 1992, Geerdes had the privilege of accepting the Faith-and-Learning Award, which is granted by the Calvin Alumni Association.

Geerdes passed away on April 4, 2002. His wife, Gladys, preceded him in death. He left behind his three children: Paul, Rick, and Judy. Geerdes memory lives on through the two scholarships at Calvin that bear his name.

Subject/Index Terms

Calvin College - Fine Arts Center
Calvin College. Department of Music

Administrative Information

Repository: Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Alternate Extent Statement: 1.25 cubic ft.

Acquisition Source: Gift of H.P. Geerdes

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence On and Plans for Calvin's Fine Arts Center, 1961-1981],
[Series 2: Music Programs, 1936-1968],
[Series 3: Articles, 1942-1991],

Series 3: Articles --- 1942-1991
Box 3
Folder 1: Personal: genealogy information; retirement open house --- 1981
Folder 2: Banner articles --- 1962, 1972
Folder 3: Dutch International Society magazine articles --- 1971, 1972, 1975, undated
Folder 4: The Instrumentalist articles --- 1968-1979
Folder 5: Impresario articles --- 1969
Folder 6: Miscellaneous magazine articles --- 1942-1987
Folder 7: Conference and convention speeches --- 1974-1986
Folder 8: Copyrighted material --- 1975, 1987, 1991
Folder 9: Non-copyrighted publications
Folder 10: Holland Festival --- 1974
Folder 11: Music Performance areas in Holland and England --- 1970
Folder 12: Adjusted Acoustics for Music Performances, reprint --- 1975
Folder 13: EFC project material

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence On and Plans for Calvin's Fine Arts Center, 1961-1981],
[Series 2: Music Programs, 1936-1968],
[Series 3: Articles, 1942-1991],

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