Music staff at Westminster
Helen Hofmeister Hawley
Minister for Music
Helen is Westminster’s principal organist and choir director for the Sanctuary Choir, Kirk Singers, and Chapel Singers. She additionally oversees Westminster’s music program, which includes three children’s choirs and instrumental ensembles.
Helen joined Westminster in 2006. Prior to Westminster, she held church music positions in Missouri, Kansas, Washington, and Germany.
She holds both a Bachelor’s of Music and a Master’s of Music in organ performance from the University of Kansas. She also did postgraduate work at the Hochschule für Musik in Köln, Germany, made possible by a Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst scholarship awarded by the Fulbright committee, which included four months of study at the Goethe Institut in Blaubeuren and nine months of study at the music conservatory in Köln.
Helen is secretary for the Grand Rapids American Guild of Organists and often performs on organ recitals associated with the AGO. She has also served on the state board of the American Choral Directors Association. She is also an accomplished carillonneur, and has performed carillon recitals in sixteen states in the U.S. as well as Belgium and the Netherlands. She is a juror for the Exam Committee of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, and has served on its board.
When not involved in musical projects, Helen enjoys spending time with her Belgian Tervuren dog, Lacey, and her two rescue cats. She is also an avid Kansas Jayhawks fan, and reminds people not to call her during a Kansas basketball game.
Children's Choir Director
Luanne serves as director of the Cherub (1st/2nd grade) and Carol (3rd-5th grade) choirs. She has been a member of Westminster for over 25 years and has been involved in the music program in a variety of ways throughout the years. She served as associate organist, accompanist, and substitute director of the youth choirs. She has a love and passion for the music program of Westminster and its strong history.
Luanne is a K-8 Music Teacher and received her Bachelor of Music degree from Western Michigan University. She also received a Masters of Education from Calvin College. She and her husband have 2 sons in college and enjoy family activities and adventures. Some family highlights have been hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, hiking Pikes Peak, snorkeling, and white water rafting. She also enjoys running, water sports, and reading.
I joined Westminster many years ago to become a part of the music program. I was drawn to the quality of music and its important role in worship. I was involved with the choirs of all ages over the years and am thrilled to be leading the children’s choirs. I believe that the music of the church can help guide children in their faith and help them experience God in unique ways. By leading worship through song, the children’s choirs connect the church as a family of God and inspire a commitment to serve our Lord.
Henry is the conductor of the Westminster Winds ensemble.
We welcome Henry Duitman as our new Westminster Winds director. Henry is the orchestra director at Grand Valley State University, a position which he has held since 2008. Henry and his wife, Lisa, are both members of Westminster. They both sing in the Sanctuary Choir and have assisted as accompanists for the Cantus Choir (pre-K through K), so their skills include working with all ages!
Cara directs the Cantus Choir.
Choral music has always been an important part of Cara’s life. She sang with the St. Cecilia Youth Chorale starting in fifth grade through high school, and singing with choirs at Calvin College was a highlight of her college experience. Cara is happy to be working with the youngest singers of Westminster and feels blessed to share her love of music with them.
Cara has degrees in Early Childhood Education from Calvin College and Grand Valley State University. She joined the Westminster music staff in 2013.
Janlee is an accompanist on organ and piano at Westminster.
Janlee Richter is a private piano instructor and free-lance accompanist in west Michigan. She was an accompanist for the Kalamazoo Singers, the Society for Old Music, the International Trombone Workshop, the Great Lakes Horn Workshop, and the Stulberg International String Competition. Janlee received a bachelor of music degree from WMU in piano performance and music history, studying with Phyllis Rappeport and Matti Raekallio. She holds a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, New York, where she studied with Rebecca Penneys.
She has previously been employed at First Presbyterian Kalamazoo (organist), GVSU (staff accompanist), Kalamazoo College (chapel office), the Fontana Concert Society, and WMU’s Summer Music Seminar (piano/accompanying faculty). Janlee lives in Grand Rapids with her husband Eric, son Rudy, daughter Emma, and dog Linus. She joined the Westminster music staff in 2010.