Choir Settings by Dale Grotenhuis

Today’s post on church music resources is both a recommendation and a request for your input.  The resource in question is a set of paperback volumes of Psalter Hymnal arrangements by Dale Grotenhuis.  I’ll back up a little bit to explain.

Recently I spent a few hours making an inventory of all the papers, booklets, volumes, folders, drawers, boxes, shelves, cabinets, and rooms of choir music at my church (West Sayville Reformed Bible Church).  The sheer amount of sheet music, from the early 1900s to the present day, is staggering—and, if you’re trying to get organized, overwhelming.  But in the bottom of one of the boxes, I found an orange booklet from 1979 which read, “SATB Choir Settings from the Psalter Hymnal, Book 2, by Dale Grotenhuis.”  What a find!

I already own the recordings of these arrangements on a CD set, “Be Thou Exalted, LORD,” from Dordt College.  But since we’ve just started up a church choir again for the first time in decades, having the sheet music at hand was a tremendous plus.  These arrangements are perfect for Sunday services—easy enough to learn, reverent enough for worship, and familiar enough for the congregation to recognize and appreciate.

Choir Settings by Dale Grotenhuis

Choir Settings by Dale Grotenhuis

I was even more excited to find about twenty more copies of this orange booklet in the back of one of the cabinets.  After I mentioned this discovery to one of our organists, she offered me another volume of Psalter Hymnal choir settings (volume 1, with a blue cover).  Unfortunately, however, I haven’t found any more of these volumes at church, so I am currently trying to learn how I can obtain more.

From some of my research, it seems that there are more volumes in this set—possibly as many as four.  There is no indication that the booklets were officially published by the CRC, nor is there any contact information inside the cover for author or publisher.  A quick search on only turns up a copy of Book Three, which it helpfully adds is “currently unavailable.”  As far as I know, Dale Grotenhuis is now retired, but continues to be a member of a URC in Michigan.  Does anyone know if his arrangements are still available, and if so, how they can be obtained?  Your help in this effort would be very much appreciated!

If this is of any help, below are the tables of contents for Books 1 and 2:

Book 1

  • Lord, Our Lord, Thy Glorious Name
  • The God Who Sits Enthroned on High
  • Since with My God
  • The Heavens Declare Thy Glory
  • Jehovah Hear Thee in Thy Grief
  • All Ye That Fear Jehovah’s Name
  • Amid the Thronging Worshipers
  • The Lord’s My Shepherd
  • Lord, I Lift My Soul to Thee
  • Be Thou My Judge
  • O Lord, Regard Me When I Cry

Book 2

  • Lead On, O King Eternal
  • How Blest Is He Whose Trespass
  • Shepherd of Tender Youth
  • Thy Mercy and Thy Truth, O Lord
  • O Christ, Our Hope, Our Heart’s Desire
  • When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
  • I Waited for the Lord Most High
  • Joy to the World
  • As the Hart, About to Falter
  • O Lord, by Thee Delivered
  • A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Even if you’re hearing about these arrangements for the first time, you might want to check your church’s music library or storage room.  If you have access to copies of these booklets, you’ll be amazed at the quality of these settings and their versatility as solos, offertories, choir pieces, and so on.  As I perused the contents, it struck me that these are some of the best arrangements for simple, wholehearted praise to God through music.  I’m so thankful for the work of musicians like Dale Grotenhuis.


20 Responses to “Choir Settings by Dale Grotenhuis”

  1. 1 Nancy A. Almodovar April 20, 2012 at 10:26 am

    i sent this blog to the Co-Urc yahoo group and hope they can help

  2. 3 Martin Nuiver April 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Dear MRK,

    I also would love to know more about this. I know that Dale was or is a member and attending Cornerstone URC in Hudsonville, MI. I am a member of Faith URC in Beecher, IL and know your pastor well.



    • 4 Michael Kearney April 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      Thanks Mr. Nuiver. Are you a church musician yourself? It’s good to hear that you know Pastor Eenigenburg. We’ve certainly been blessed to have him come to West Sayville!

      –Michael Kearney

      • 5 Martin Nuiver April 20, 2012 at 1:16 pm

        Love to sing. Choir, Congregtional, Oratorio. Love choral music, do a little solo and still have good range (55 years old) but I don’t have the time to sing enough to keep it up at my age, control and timbre suffers above middle C. I have a keen interest in new psalm settings for our worship. I love the blue PH but some of the settings are poor in lyrics, scriptural accuracy and the tunes coupled with the lyrics. Some of the new things added to the new PH proposed are good but, in true Dutch fashion, we are looking for our own personal preferencs to be met, we want our version of perfection and we are only borrowing and not doing new music ourselves. Synod, out your way this summer, will be stymied by this I fear. For me, go for it even if not perfect, it is needed.

    • 6 Michael Kearney April 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      Amen! As with anything close to our hearts, we tend to fight for our personal preferences above the common good of the churches. I don’t think it’s limited to the Dutch though…I’ve noticed the same tendency even in myself, though I’m trying hard to subdue it. Indeed, we need support for the new hymnal and a coordinated effort to make it the best it can be.

      I share your interest in new, solid, Biblically grounded psalm settings. In case you’re interested, I mentioned one of my own in a recent post on Psalm 107. And I’ll be sure to include more references to new psalm settings in future discussions!


    • 7 Joy September 11, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      Just a note here: Our dear dad, Dale Grotenhuis, passed away on August 17, 2012, peacefully into his eternal rest, knowing he had done all he could to serve his Savior in song and was eager to see Christ in person!

      My husband, Phil Grotenhuis, is his son and pastor of the URC in Phoenix.

      If anyone has questions regarding Dad’s musical works, much can be found on line regarding his published pieces. There are, however, some unpublished pieces that he wrote over the years with a more Psalm-singing church context in mind…colored booklets such as the ones you show above, transpositions, organ/piano duets, etc. I am a musician also, and have been given the responsibility of looking after his files. I would be happy to help if anyone has questions regarding his compositions.

      Joy Grotenhuis

      • 8 Michael Kearney September 11, 2012 at 10:25 pm

        Mrs. Grotenhuis,

        I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to share this information! Your father-in-law has been in many ways a musical “role model” whom I earnestly desire to imitate. As soon as I heard of his passing I posted a memorial meditation here on the blog. I hope it does some sort of justice to his legacy, even if it’s only in a small way.

        I will of course direct the readers to this comment and encourage them to contact you with any questions. As you can see, many other musicians are ardent supporters of his work as well!

        God bless,

        Michael Kearney
        West Sayville URC
        Long Island, New York

  3. 9 Reita Julien April 20, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Michael, First of all, Martin failed to tell you that his son is a URC pastor in Iowa. My husband had Martin as a catechumen when he was young, that makes us old. 🙂 But, I have to say that I don’t entirely agree with Martin in regards to the Blue PH. I understand where you both are coming from but the people in our church will not like to get rid of the songs that we already have. There are some songs that my husband just does not chose for his own reasons. Enjoy reading all your posts!

    • 10 Michael Kearney April 20, 2012 at 7:50 pm

      Thanks Mrs. Julien! I knew the name “Nuiver” sounded familiar. What I failed to make clear in my reply to Mr. Nuiver was that there needs to be a balance in the creation of the new Psalter Hymnal. If we remove all the familiar, well-loved songs, we have done ourselves more harm than good. On the other hand, if we fail to incorporate newer, better versions of the psalms alongside the old favorites, we will also be doing ourselves a disservice. This is where the Songbook Committee needs our diligent prayers and support–as they try to make decisions that will preserve the rich heritage of our Reformed tradition without unnecessarily excluding good selections from a more modern repertoire. Rev. Wybren Oord had an interesting suggestion about a solution to this dilemma, which I hope to post soon.

      Too bad Dordt College doesn’t carry those arrangements anymore. Let me know if anything turns up!


  4. 11 Reita Julien April 20, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    By the way, I think you might be able to get the choral arrangements of Grotenhuis from Dordt College book store. Not sure but worth a try. I do know him and will see if I can find out, as well. Reita

  5. 12 Reita Julien April 20, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    I just checked the Dordt book store and apparently they don’t carry them anymore. I will see what I can find out about them.

  6. 13 Michael Kearney May 5, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Well, as it turns out, there’s some sad news but also some good news. A friend gave me Dale Grotenhuis’s phone number, so I called him up this morning. When I mentioned the Psalter Hymnal choir arrangements, he gave a big sigh and said, “Oh dear, those are from another era.” Unfortunately, they’re no longer available. But he still does sell piano and organ arrangements of Psalter Hymnal tunes–a volume of which I promptly ordered! I don’t want to share his phone number on the blog without his permission, but if you happen to have his contact info, give him a call–I think he would be happy to give out some more of his excellent arrangements.



  7. 14 Jan S. Van Der Stad May 16, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I stumbled across this blog with great interest. A friend of mine, who is a choir director in New Jersey was able to acquire the Psalter-Hymnal choral arrangements from Dale Grotenhuis about ten years ago. Since then, I have become the director of two church choirs- a mixed choir, and a male choir. We are also interested in acquiring the entire set…even if it means copying somebody elses’ book, with Dale’s permission, and paying him a royalty fee…

    • 15 Michael Kearney May 16, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      Your idea sounds very promising! If I talk to Mr. Grotenhuis again, I might mention it to him. I’m certain that volumes 3 and 4 are still in existence (probably in some organ bench somewhere in the middle of Iowa). The possibility of re-publishing his choral works would be a significant benefit to many younger churches looking to expand their repertoire.

      It’s great to hear that you’re involved in choir directing! Are both choirs at the same church? I’m continually delighted to meet church musicians from new places. 🙂


      –Michael Kearney

    • 16 Joy Grotenhuis October 15, 2012 at 11:51 pm

      I am making my way through Dads files this week. All the scores for his psalm arrangements that he made for the Dordt recordings are all intact….both the vocal and instrumental (band) scores. I am not quite sure how to process it all…it probably should all be archived and be made available as downloadable files (PDFs?). Any ideas? There are many unpublished sacred pieces as well.

      Joy Grotenhuis

    • 17 Joy Grotenhuis October 15, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      Please feel free to communicate with me on this. I will be shipping all the originals to my own home in Phoenix to process it from there.

  8. 18 Jan S. Van Der Stad May 14, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    I know this thread over a year old. But I am very grateful to have been able to purchase Books 1, 2, and 3 of the SATB Choir settings from the Psalter Hymnal by Dale Grotenhuis on
    Unfortunately, my book 2 is missing pages 24-27. Is anyone able/willing to email me a pdf of these pages?

  9. 19 Michael Kearney December 19, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    For all the readers and contributors in this conversation, I have an exciting update to share:

  1. 1 Dale Grotenhuis: Establish the Work of Our Hands « URC Psalmody Trackback on August 18, 2012 at 11:06 am

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