The world of Christian music lost one of its great teachers this past Monday, July 1.
Bert Polman was chair of the music department at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a senior fellow for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.
I attended a summer workshop on hymnology led by Dr. Polman several years ago, which brought together musicians in higher education for an intensive week of study. We were given many tools for developing and hymnology curricula. But much more importantly, we were given a fresh perspective. Hymns come from Psalms. (Dr. Polman said the Genevan Psalter was his life’s blood.) Psalms sing of lamentation as well as praise. True hymns sing of God.
A great teacher meets students where they are and sets their sights further down the road in fruitful directions. While we learned as much as we could in a week, thousands of lucky students learned over the course of years, with humor and zeal.
Please remember Dr. Polman in your prayers.