Grebel Church Music and Worship Prof to Retire

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Ken Hull archiveProfessor Ken Hull began teaching piano and music courses part-time at Conrad Grebel University College in 1977, the same year that Music became an official department at the University of Waterloo. Hull became a full-time faculty member in 1981 as course demand soared. Since that time, Professor Hull has taught a full portfolio in Music History and Church Music and Worship, developed many innovative courses, and led several travel courses to Leipzig and London. He has held administrative positions and conducted the Chamber and Chapel choirs at Grebel.

As Director of the College’s Church Music and Worship program, Hull has concentrated on Christian hymnody, music and liturgy, and sacred choral music, examining how music creates meaning within various contexts. “Reflecting on how we worship is important because what we do, sing, or say in worship not only expresses our faith, it shapes it,” explained Hull. “How we worship plays a significant role in what kind of disciples we become.”

Ken Hull 2018Describing Hull as a kind and humorous professor, current student Olga Denisova remarked that “his passion about music and music history research is contagious. It’s a pleasure to learn from someone so passionate!”

Retiring from Grebel in May 2018, Hull will continue as Artistic Director of Spiritus Ensemble, which he founded in 2009. And as he completes his work as project manager for the Anglican Church of Canada hymn book supplement, Hull will continue his research on the intersection of music, liturgy, theology, and meaning.  

“Ken’s voice, vision, and leadership have been central to the shape of the music department as we know it today,” said Music Professor Emeritus Len Enns. “He has always supported the vision of music study at Grebel as an endeavor central to the liberal arts. The initial shaping of the program, the development of courses that examine issues of music in society (exploring popular music, and worship music, for example), and the continuation and enriching of international travel courses that bring students directly into the cultural setting of particular music—all of these are thanks in large part to Ken’s vision and commitment.”

“ The fact that he, as a first-rate performer, would resist the shiny apple of a performance-focused direction for the broader light of an integrated approach to music study in its most relevant context—in the place where music meets the deep aspirations of the human condition—that is a commitment he has staunchly defended and championed over his years as Grebel’s longest serving faculty member.”

“Ken has been a key member of the Music Department since the degree program was formed forty years ago,” added Music Chair Laura Gray. “His influence has been felt, not just in his work of teaching, research, administrative duties and ensemble leading, but in how he did all of these things—with integrity, diligence, generosity, grace and a healthy daily dose or two of light-hearted humour! We will miss his regular presence in our midst, but are grateful for having had the good fortune to have him as a colleague.”

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