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Music of the Month: Notes of Gladness

This collection by Benjamin Kolodziej features Easter organ settings of moderate difficulty. Each employs various musical textures to convey the spirit of the hymn texts to the congregation. From meditative and lush treatments of LANCASHIRE and VRUECHTEN to a sprightly trio arrangement of BESANÇON to a setting of DUKE STREET suitable for showcasing a solo trumpet, organists will find these settings invigorating and fun to play.

How Music Affects Its Listeners

During our recent spring break vacation at the beach, my husband and I encountered several people walking along the sidewalks, beach, and paths carrying speakers playing loud music, most often loud and obscene rap music. The lyrics of these songs told us how Satan was trying to influence the thoughts and minds of those who were listening to them. Satan was working through these explicit lyrics to draw people away from Christ. 

Understanding Worship: Service of the Word

Have you ever wondered why there are so many aspects of Lutheran worship? What about the style of music, the order of service, or even the weekly lectionary readings? Lutheran worship follows an ancient tradition that dates back hundreds of years. This includes the practice of incorporating the Service of the Word into regular services. Keep reading to learn more about this special part of Lutheran worship.

Music of the Month: Go to Dark Gethsemane

Mitchell Eithun provides a plaintive arrangement of the tune GETHSEMANE. Based on the first three stanzas of the hymn, Eithun’s portrayal of the hymn’s narrative includes phrases of the text throughout the score. This level II piece cleverly ends with an unfinished feel, adding to the anticipation of Easter dawn. 

The Beautiful Routine of the Liturgy

A day or two before Ash Wednesday, I remarked to my husband, “I can’t wait for Lent.” In a dreary year of isolation, anxiety, moral quandaries, political polarization, disease, and death, compounded all the more by the last few months of gloomy, wintry skies and cold weather, I am ready for spring. Lent means that spring is coming and that Easter is drawing ever nearer. It is a yearly routine that remains unchanging even in the face of a pandemic and societal disruption.

Music of the Month: Good Friday Suite

Good Friday Suite features four hymns: “O Perfect Life of Love”; “Sing, My Tongue, the Glorious Battle”; “The Royal Banners Forward Go”; and “O Darkest Woe.” The suite may be played from start to finish or each as an individual prelude. The suite is especially useful for a Tre Ore service.

In Memoriam: Dr. Carl Flentge Schalk

The life of Dr. Carl F. Schalk (1929–2021) is certainly one of the clearest and longest proclamations of the Gospel ever heard in the world of Lutheran church music.

He was a beloved husband, father, musician, writer, composer, and fervent advocate of the Lutheran Church. While Carl is dearly missed, he continues to sing the Church’s song, now proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ in His nearer presence.

Composer of the Month: Robert Powell

Robert J. Powell (b. 1932) began writing music when he was in high school and, since then, has had more than three hundred compositions published by sacred music publishers. His works range from organ and choral compositions to handbell and instrumental pieces.

Powell currently serves as organist at Church of the Redeemer in Greenville, South Carolina. Like many churches across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced his congregation to adapt their musical practices on Sunday mornings.

Live Out Your Love for Traditional Church Music

How horribly unfair movies are toward Christianity.

I am speaking generally, of course. But Hollywood is not a hotbed of orthodox Christian thought and practice. Movies often show the very opposite of what the Church teaches, but more than that, they often portray Christianity and traditional worship services as boring, dull, and humorously bad.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

God Always Has Room for You

This post is from Praise and Honor: Hymn Inspired Devotions

“Where Shepherds Lately Knelt” is a remarkable gift, but it is easily missed because it is placed a third of the way into our hymnal’s Christmas section. …This hymn takes our doubts, weaknesses, and pains directly to the world’s key event, where we ponder its impact upon our lives and other people’s. Most of all, this remarkable hymn brings Christmas peace. …