Joel Van Peursem
Vermillion, South Dakota
Joel Van Peursem

In tune

If a Northwestern College music ensemble is playing, there’s a good chance Joel is part of it. He sings bass in the A cappella Choir and plays trombone in the Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Orchestra, Brass Quintet and Red Raider Athletic Band. When not making music, Joel is a Discipleship Group leader and participant in spikeball, ultimate Frisbee and intramural volleyball. A music and secondary education major, he plans to become a high school band director after graduation.


I chose Northwestern because of the Christian academics and amazing faculty. Both of my parents went to Northwestern, so I heard a lot about it through them. When I came for a campus visit, I fell in love with Northwestern! The music faculty really drew me in also. Northwestern has a great community, and you really start to feel like it’s your home!

A natural

My grandpa was a music teacher and professor for many years, so I grew up around music. My passion for music grew in high school as I was involved in every ensemble I could be. I love music and I love teaching, so being a music teacher seems like a perfect fit.

Musical mentors

Northwestern’s music faculty really challenge your faith in and out of the classroom. Dr. Holt, especially, often brings up parallels between music and faith in different ways. She is also willing to sit down and talk to you about your faith or anything. That is another thing the music faculty are so good at—they always have their doors open and are eager to talk to you.


I have gained so many more things from Northwestern than just a fabulous education. I have grown in my faith every year, I have met incredible friends—including my wife—and established relationships that will last a lifetime, and I have grown in my musical skills. Northwestern is truly an amazing college.