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God’s Generous Gift of Music

Food. Water. Shelter. Oxygen. Not much is required for a human being to exist. Appropriate nutrients and an appropriate atmosphere. That is essentially what we need to survive.

Composer of the Month: August Crull

August Crull (1845–1923) was born in Germany but moved with his mother to the United States as a young boy following the death of his father. His mother remarried, and Crull began studying to enter the pastoral ministry at Concordia Seminary in 1862.

How to Network with Local Church Musicians

The professional world is full of networking opportunities, from connecting with individuals at conferences to networking entirely online. For a church musician or a music director, these networking needs are far different than, say, a marketing manager of a Fortune 500 company. In fact, making connections with other local musicians in your community can be challenging but also rewarding. The ability to use resources through networking for your church will not only free up your precious time but also give you the tools you need to broaden the musical selections your congregation hears every Sunday without having to dip further into the budget. For those trying to network with local musicians or churches in your area, try these tips below.

Music of the Month: Three Lenten Chorales for Organ

A set of Lenten chorale preludes based on themes of repentance, Christopher M. Wicks’s settings are composed in variation style and are inspired by Bach’s partitas and the Orgelbüchlein.

Why Church Bells Ring

Crumbled have spires in ev’ry land;
    Bells still are chiming and calling,
Calling the young and old to rest,
But above all the souls distressed,
    Longing for rest everlasting.
(LSB 645:1)

Composer of the Month: Carl F. Schalk

Dr. Carl F. Schalk has written more than one hundred hymn tunes, composed dozens of sacred choral pieces, and authored numerous books on liturgical worship. But what lies underneath the titles, tunes, and tempos is a man who has shaped decades of Lutheran music and church worship. His precise dedication to the liturgy of the Church guides his musical endeavors; and this zeal and diligence has molded generations of church musicians and laypersons and is sure to impact generations to come.

Music of the Month: Glory Be to Jesus

John A. Behnke has transcribed his popular organ prelude of the tune WEM IN LEIDENSTAGEN to an accessible arrangement for level II handbells. Based on three stanzas of the hymn, the first section is musically straightforward, the second has new harmonies, and the third uses descanting notes and grand harmony. Scored for 3–5 octave handbells and optional 3 octave handchimes. 

The Church’s Song: Proclamation, Pedagogy, and Praise

To celebrate the release of Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymns, here is an excerpt from Carl Schalk’s essay in Volume 2:

Why We Learn to Square Dance

There’s a meme I’ve seen more than once. It goes something like this:

Me: I just want to learn how to do my taxes.
School: Shut up and square dance.

It’s a sentiment I’ve heard many times: “Schools need to teach more practical skills.”

“How about we learn how to write a check and how to budget instead of learning to play recorders?”

“I don’t know how to open a bank account, but I do know how to do-si-do. That’s really helpful in the real world.”

I suspect that those who think this way have nothing against music and dancing in general. Instead, they probably think that students would be better served learning the basics of finance and practical skills instead of “impractical” subjects like music. After all, learning to square dance will not help you in the real world.

Hymn of the Month: From Heaven Above to Earth I Come

The Hymn of the Month is “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come” (LSB 358), set to the tune VOM HIMMEL HOCH. The text was written by Martin Luther, and it was translated from German to English by Catherine Winkworth, one of the most prominent female hymn translators in history.