Debora DeWitt, Professor of Music, is the head of the piano department at GRCC where she also teaches music theory, aural comprehension, music appreciation, and composition. Dr. DeWitt began teaching at GRCC in 2008. Prior to that she held the position of Associate Professor of Music and Department Chair at Manchester University in North Manchester, Indiana from 1991 to 2007. Dr. DeWitt has also taught at Iowa State University and Michigan State University. She earned the Ph.D. in music composition and the M.M. in Piano Performance from Michigan State University. Her B.A. in piano performance and theory-composition is from Calvin College.
Dr. DeWitt is an accomplished pianist and has appeared in recitals and concerts throughout the Midwest and in China. Some recent performances include a recital in Dali, China in 2019. She has also appeared in collaborative recitals with tubist, Dr. Robert Lynn, at Huntington University in Indiana, and with her piano partner, Dr. Sarah Miller, at the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has also appeared several times as a soloist and as a duo-pianist with the Manchester Symphony Orchestra.
Dr. DeWitt’s compositions have been performed throughout the world. Her compositions Prayer for Peace and Parting were both premiered at Carnegie Hall. Prayer for Peace was also performed in the great cathedrals of Florence, Assisi, and Lucca, Italy. Her duo-piano work Three Portraits for piano four-hands was commissioned by the Indiana Music Teachers Association and premiered by the famous duo-piano team of Dallas Weekley and Nancy Arganbright. Her Song Cycle for a Bereaved Mother was performed by Hong Kong soprano Rosaline Pi at The Hong Kong University in 1995.
Dr. DeWitt’s most recent pursuits include study of the Dalcroze Method. She is a student of the Dalcroze School of the Rockies and has achieved the Level 2 requirements toward the Dalcroze Certificate.
An experienced academic, in addition to teaching piano, music theory, and composition, Dr. DeWitt has taught courses in orchestration, aural skills, counterpoint, women in the arts, experiencing the arts, American music, computer applications in music, electronic music, 20th-century music, and sacred music.
Dr. DeWitt currently holds the position of Secretary for the Michigan Music Teachers Association. She is a member of Music Teachers National Association, Michigan Music Teachers Association, Piano Teachers Forum of Grand Rapids, the Dalcroze Society of America, the College Music Society, and is a past member of the Indiana Music Teachers Association where she served on the Executive Board as theory coordinator for six years.
Dr. DeWitt loves the opportunities available for students here at GRCC and is thrilled to work with such talented students and to work alongside such an amazing faculty.
What do you like best about teaching at GRCC?
Helping students discover their strengths, and knowing that I work at an institution that makes a difference in the world.
What are the strengths of your program?
High quality faculty members with a desire to help students achieve the best in themselves.
What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you were first starting out in your profession?
That faculty members really do want to help you and want you to visit them during their office hours.
How has your ability to connect with students changed in a positive way during the pandemic?
Seeing students meet the challenges of attending college, while taking care of their family and working, through the pandemic has reminded me of what challenges I faced in college and I can relate.