CHS Fine Arts Center Renamed to Honor Peter V. DeLille

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Peter DeLille receives a framed image of what the new Peter V. DeLille Fine Arts Center will look like.

Sasha Grimes, Staff Writer

The Caledonia music department put on a showcase concert Thursday, March 24th to honor the founder of the Caledonia Community Schools Orchestra program, Peter V. DeLille. To his surprise, the entire performance was dedicated to announcing the renaming of the CHS Fine Arts Center to “Peter V. DeLile Fine Arts Center as a reward for his decades of commitment. 

Peter DeLille started his career in Caledonia as the band director in 1978. In 1984, he became the founding director of Caledonia’s orchestra program which now serves 450 orchestra students in grades 4-12. He has spent 36 years in the district, retiring in 2013 with an abundance of accolades. Over his years of teaching, he has earned The District 10 Teacher of the Year in 2001 and 2008, the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association’s “Orchestra Teacher of the Year” award in 2002, and the first Grand Rapids Symphony’s John P. Varineau Award in 2011. 

Community members responded positively on the Caledonia Community Schools Facebook account when the award was announced. Nicki Loring, a previous Caledonia orchestra student, said “I absolutely love this! It was an honor to be taught by Mr. Delille.”

A Caledonia parent said this recognition “is so well deserved! We are honored that three of our four kids were privileged to be under your leadership.” 

Melanie Miller Groendyke, another prior Caledonia student, said “How wonderful. You taught so many of us the love of music. Congratulations on this honor, Mr. DeLille.”

With a combination of the Caledonia’s Wind Ensemble, Bella Voce, Choralaires, Concert Orchestra, Freshmen Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra, the music department put on a show of honor for their beloved former music director. Ryan Linton (12), Evan DeVault (11), and Leah Thompson (11) were three soloists in “The Creation” by Franz Joseph Hadyn performed by the Symphony Orchestra, Choralaires, and Bella Voce. 

Three orchestral student concertos were also featured, with “Cello Concerto No. 4 in G Major” by performed by Laura Robotham (12) accompanied by the Freshmen Orchestra, “Student Concerto in D Major for Cello & Orchestra” by Ludwig Mendelssohn performed by James Heath (10) accompanied by the Concert Orchestra, and “Concerto for Double Bass & Orchestra in E Minor” by Serge Koussevitzky performed by Hannah Schlett (12) accompanied by the Chamber Orchestra. 

Alumni, students, and staff expressed their gratitude for a wonderful night of music, and the departments’ musical performances and traditions will continue for generations to come in the new Peter V. DeLille Fine Arts Center.