The Ministry of Music of LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church has always held an important place in the spiritual life of the congregation and its worship. For that reason and for the glory of God, the Music Ministry has participated in a number of recording projects over the last several decades, thus expanding the scope of its ministry far beyond the walls of the church.
Upon the occasion of the dedication of the new church building in 1960, the Music Ministry recorded an album titled Chancel Echoes which features the carillon, the organ, and the Chancel Choir. Upon the occasion of her retirement following 42 years as Chancel Organist, Alyce Lantinga produced an album titled Sanctuary Pipes in the late 1970s. The Chancel Choir, under the direction of the late Al Smith, recorded an album in the 1987 titled A Jubilant Song. That recording was also a celebration of both the centennial anniversary of LaGrave Church and Al Smith’s retirement. Former assistant organist Steve Girod captured several hymn-based arrangements for organ on the cassette and CD recording titled Organ Sounds. Additionally, the late internationally recognized organist Carlo Curley recorded the dedicatory recital of the 1996 George and Wilma VanWesep Memorial Organ (Austin-Allen, Opus 2765), available on both audio cassette and CD.
More recently, the Music Ministry has begun to record a series of recordings that correspond to the various seasons of the liturgical church year. These recordings feature the wide variety of ensembles within the Music Ministry: adult and children’s choirs and the adult handbell choir, as well as instrumentalists and music for solo organ. In 2003 a recording of Advent music was recorded; in 2005 a CD for Christmas, and in 2012 a recording for the season of Lent.
Dr. Larry Visser, current Minister of Music and Organist recorded a CD in 2007 titled LaGrave Organ Favorites. This CD features the church’s five-manual, 108-rank Austin-Allen organ installed in 1996. In 2000, Dr. Visser was requested by the Cuba Committee of the Henry Beets Mission Society to record a CD containing Christmas carillon music for use in the Christian Reformed Churches in Cuba. This CD, featuring the Maas-Rowe carillon at LaGrave, is titled Navidad Campanas (Christmas Bells).
The following recordings are currently available for purchase from the church. Prices are listed for each CD. To order, please make checks payable to: “LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church” and mail to “LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Attention: Dr. Larry Visser, Minister of Music, 107 LaGrave Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503.” Orders will be shipped soon after they are received. Please provide a return address to which orders can be sent. If additional information is requested, please contact Dr. Larry Visser, firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-454-7204.
LOVE SO AMAZING, SO DIVINE: LENT AT LAGRAVE.
CD PRICE: $15.00 (includes shipping)
Released in November, 2012, this CD features the Chancel Choir, Junior Choir, Bells Jubilate, cellist Calin Muresan, soloist Jason Reiffer, and several instrumentalists. A variety of pieces for the season of Lent are included: Wondrous Love (Shaw/Parker), Ah, Dearest Jesus (Raymond H. Haan), Agnus Dei, from Requiem (John Rutter), Do This in Remembrance of Me (Larry Visser), A Lenten Love Song (Helen Kemp), Pie Jesu, from Requiem (Webber, arr. Douglas E. Wagner), When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (Gilbert Martin), The Tree of Life (K. Lee Scott) and others.
EVERY VOICE IN CONCERT RING: CHRISTMAS AT LAGRAVE.
CD Price: $15.00 (includes shipping)
Released in December, 2005, this CD features the Chancel Choir, Junior Choir, Bells Jubilate, organist Dr. Larry Visser, several instrumentalists and guest harpist Christa Grix. Many Christmas favorites include Of the Father’s Love Begotten (David Willcocks), Some Children See Him (Alfred Burt), This Little Babe (Benjamin Britten), Three Carols for Oboe and Organ (Michael Burkhardt), Change Ring Prelude on “Divinum Mysterium” (Fred Gramann), Still, Still Night (Jackson Berkey), O Magnum Mysterium (Moten Laurid-sen), and many more.
LO! HE COMES: ADVENT AT LAGRAVE. (this CD is sold out)
Released in December of 2003, this was the first recording in a series including music for each season of the liturgical church year. The CD includes several Advent pieces: Concertato on “Westminster Abbey” (Lo! He Comes, with Clouds Descending) (Larry Visser), Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying (Johann Sebastian Bach), Three Settings of Savior of the Nations, Come (J. S. Bach), You Who Were Rich (French Carol, arr. John Worst), Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (Katherine Jordahl Larson), E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come (Paul Manz), A Spotless Rose (Herbert Howells), and many more.
LAGRAVE ORGAN FAVORITES: THE GEORGE & WILMA VAN WESEP MEMORIAL ORGAN.
CD Price: $15.00 (includes shipping)
Recorded in 2007, this CD recording features LaGrave organist, Dr. Larry Visser, playing several favorite organ pieces of the LaGrave congregation on the church’s magnificent Austin-Allen 5-manual 108-rank pipe organ installed in 1996. Pieces include Toccata from “Symphony No. 5” (Charles Marie Widor), Cortège et Litanie (Marcel Dupré, Partita on Crystal (By the Sea of Crystal) (Larry Visser), Come, Sweetest Death (J. S. Bach, arr. Virgil Fox), Now Thank We All Our God (J. S. Bach, arr. Virgil Fox), God of Grace (Paul Manz), Carillon de Westminster (Louis Vierne), and several others.
CARLO CURLEY: INAUGURAL CONCERT, NOVEMBER 30, 1996.CD PRICE: $15.00 (includes shipping) CASSETTE PRICE: $5.00.
This recording (audio cassette and CD) is the recital presented by Carlo
Curley for the dedication of the church’s new pipe organ in 1996. The organ’s wide variety of sound orchestral color is featured in pieces such as In Dulci Jubilo (J. S. Bach), Prelude and Fugue in A Minor (J. S. Bach), Under the Christmas Mistletoe (Richard Leibert), Finlandia (Jean Sibelius), Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy (Pytor Il’vich Tchaikovsky), Dreams (Hugh McAmis), and Fantasia on “How Brightly Shines the Morning Star” (Max Reger).
ORGAN SOUNDS. CD PRICE: $10.00
A recording made by former assistant organist Steve Girod featuring hymn-based arrangements for organ such as O, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing (Frederick Swann), God of Grace (Paul Manz), For the Beauty of the Earth (Emma Lou Diemer), Great is Thy Faithfulness (Dan Miller), Rejoice, the Lord Is King (Charles Callahan), and four of Mr. Girod’s own improvisations. This recording is available on audio cassette and CD.
NAVIDAD CAMPANAS (CHRISTMAS BELLS). CD PRICE: $10.00
This CD recording was made by Dr. Larry Visser in 2000 on the church’s electronic Maas-Rowe Carillon at the request of the Cuba Committee of the Henry Beets Mission Society for use in the church towers of the Christian Reformed Churches in Cuba. It features several beloved Christmas Carols arranged for a variety of bells: Tubular Chimes, Symphonic Bells, Major Bells, digital Cast Bells, and Harp and Celesta.
“On Christmas Night” CD price: $15.00.
This CD features Dr. Larry Visser, organist of LaGrave Avenue CRC playing the George and Wilma VanWesep Memorial Organ (5-manual, 108-rank Austin-Allen). The festive recording features a variety of arrangements of Christmas Carols and original organ music written for the Christmas season, including “Variations on a Noël” (Marcel Dupré), Noel Grand Jeu et Duo (Louis Claude d’Aquin), Christmas Intrada (David Conte), Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella (Keith Chapman), In dulci jubilo (two settings by Johann Sebastian Bach), Solemn Prelude on “In the Bleak Midwinter” (Larry Visser), Four French Couplets on “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night” (Larry Visser), Pastoral Dance on “On Christmas Night” (Robin Milford), Silent Night, Holy Night (Charles Ore), I Saw Three Ships (Richard Elliott) and many more.