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Nardin Park Honors Longtime Music Minister with Choral Premiere

Mel Rookus has led the church's music ministry for 35 years.

Nardin Park United Methodist Church will debut a specially commissioned piece of choral music April 28, to honor longtime organist and music director Melvin Rookus. 

“Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart" is an elaborate arrangement by Joel Raney, based on the familiar hymn. Raney is Sacred Music Editor for Hope Publishing, and has over 350 compositions represented by eight national publishing companies. 

Rookus is completing his 35th year with the church. During his tenure, the church has established a graded choir program that includes handbell and liturgical dance groups, established a music series that has offered 388 concert programs to the public representing distinguished artists from Europe, the United States, and Michigan. 

The music department has also presented 110 special programs ranging from dinner theater productions, musical plays, and cantata / oratorio concerts by master composers. In 2008, Rookus was given the Distinguished Service to the Arts Award by the Farmington Area Arts Commission for the programs offered to the community. 

The composition will debut at a special 10 a.m. service on April 28, celebrating Rookus' contributions. Raney will direct the 8-minute piece, along with five of his original compositions. The public is invited to attend; a reception follows the service. 

Learn more at nardinpark.org or call 248-476-8860.

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