Bob Jones University is saddened by the homegoing this morning of Dr. Dwight Gustafson

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Aaron Blumer's picture


I sat (mostly stood, really!) under Dr. Gus' direction in a couple of productions back in the day and remember him fondly. In those days, he was usually with the orchestra and I was in the choir under other directors, but when it all came together, it was Dr. Gus. Wish I'd had more time with him.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Rob Fall's picture

I was able to watch The Printing when it was first released in 1990.  However, I started to attend Russian Evangelical Christian Baptist churches.  I knew Yuri K. Kryuchkov who worked on the technical aspects of the underground printing operations.  I listened to their hymnody.  But, due to the score he composed for it; I can't sit through the film.  The music is almost interchangeable with other Unusual Film productions.  It has no real Russian motifs.

though this is from a church in Sao Paulo, the hymn Взойдём на Голгофу is sung by every congregation I know of for the Lord's supper.

Great composer and a leading figure in Fundamental Christian music.  He leaves a legacy which greatly overshadows my comments above.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

PLewis's picture

I was never had the honor of sitting under Dr. Gus for performance.  I do know how I loved singing congregational songs with him directing, or watching him conduct.  He had such enthusiasm!  There was a situation during commencement contest my freshman or sophomore year.  A young man was playing trumpet and passed out .. we all gasped of course ... and if I remember correctly Dr. Gus came calmly out, scooped the boy up and carried him off stage.  He reminded me of a loving dad caring for his son...  That's how I remember him - I may be all wrong, but his demeanor always seemed calm and loving.

G. N. Barkman's picture

Many years ago, we had Dr. Gus at our church for a vocal concert.  In those days, we scheduled the concert after lunch.  (no more!)  As soon as he began, he stopped.  His lunch interfered with his singing.  "This reminds me," he said, "about the singer who came to the country church.  Before the service, he ate supper with one of the church families.  He ate very little, explaining that because he was scheduled to sing, he couldn't eat.  He didn't want food to interfere with his singing. After the concert, he asked the little boy from the supper family what he thought?  'You shoulda et," he replied.'"

Dr. Gus was a great man, in just about any way men measure greatness.  Dr. Gus was a godly man, which is far more important.  Dr. Gus was a truly humble man.  I salute him as he begins the journey of eternity with His savior.  He leaves a rich and wonderful legacy behind.

G. N. Barkman

Mike Harding's picture

Dr. Gus was a great Christian and a humble man.  I played viola in the University Orchestra under his direction for five years.  He taught me my philosophy of Christian music which I hold to this day.  There are few men in this world I respected more.  It was through Dr. Gus' influence that we started a full orchestra in our church and school.  I had him in several times to conduct our church choir and orchestra.  The last performance we did with him was the "Messiah".  I will not soon forget that series of concerts.  Dr. Gus had a great love for lost souls and would often preach and sing at the local rescue missions. He was a man of immense class, talent, and wisdom and yet could humble himself to those who were least fortunate or even the least cultured.  My wife, Jenny, had the privilege of dating his gifted son, David (now a Federal Judge), while at BJU (before she met me of course [smile]).  My first date at BJU was with Dr. Gus' very talented daughter, Diane.  We remain good friends to this day.  I love Dr. Gus and appreciate his love for truth, vision, and legacy.  He seems irreplaceable to me.  Certainly he is one of those whom the book of Hebrews would describe as "of whom the world was not worthy".

Pastor Mike Harding

dcbii's picture


Like Aaron, I was also a part of a number of singing groups under his direction, both small and large, and for both secular and sacred works. My senior year I was in a choir that traveled to various churches for a week or two to sing under his direction. As others have already stated, not only was he a great director, but he was as humble as people have said, and took ministry seriously.

I remember that even during my freshman year, during the many practices we had for the Messiah performance, he would very quickly learn and remember most of the names of the > 200 people singing, and he could usually call it up when he wanted to say something personally. Given he was the head of the FA department, and had no reason to know a freshman physics major, it made an impression on me that he would remember my name, and he genuinely seemed to care about each of us.

Heaven's gain is definitely BJU's loss.

Dave Barnhart

Michael_C's picture

Thanks for the reminder of that blog post, Drake TP. Moving.

Dr. Gus was one of the larger-than-life characters of my childhood. Although I had little personal interaction with him I've benefited in many ways from his life's work. It says something about the man that so many people who didn't know him well still feel a sense of loss at his passing. I will always have fond memories of Dr. Gus leading some of the favorite hymns in FMA during the opening services and Bible Conference.