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Waiting for the Light of the World

“Jesus Christ is the Light of the world, the light no darkness can overcome.”

These words mark the opening of the service of Evening Prayer (Lutheran Service Book, p. 243). The language of light and darkness reminds us that Christ, our light, has overcome the darkness of sin, death, and the evil one. Christ as the light of the world is taken directly from Scripture and is a recurring theme throughout Advent. As a new Church Year begins in the season of Advent, we are surrounded by reminders in Scripture, in hymns and the liturgy, in traditions, and in nature, that light remains a crucial component both of our biology and our faith.

Music of the Month: The First Noel

The First Noel is one of the final contributions to the Concordia Publishing House choral catalog by the late Carl F. Schalk (1929–2021). Schalk’s soaring tune and captivating setting of the beloved Christmas carol is set for SATB, strings, tubular bells, and timpani. Useful for concerts, services, and pageants, the piece is a processional carol. The new tune and unique combination of instrumentation will engage listeners and set the tone for concerts and worship.

Technology and Church Music

We live in a world dominated by digital technology—technology that majorly affects our modern musical world. Although digital technology can offer us a wealth of music we might otherwise not have access to, digital recordings lack the inherent risk of live performance—a risk that lends live performances a certain sense of humanity. This humanity reflects the reality of our lives, including the reality of salvation through Christ. Although digital technology in the musical world is a great gift, it is a worthy endeavor to continue to pursue live musical performances in order to experience the wonder and beauty of music that we must take as is in all its imperfection.

Music Evolving through the Reformation

This blog post has been adapted from an article that appears in Lutheranism 101: Third Edition. Read the first part of the article here.

Music of the Month: Preludes on Five Hymns of Martin Luther

Bret A. Heim has crafted new settings based on five of Martin Luther's hymns:  GOTT DER VATER, WOHN UNS BEI; JESUS CHRISTUS, UNSER HEILAND; a cantilena and toccata on NUN BITTEN WIR; NUN FREUT EUCH; and a delightful triptych on NUN KOMM, DER HEIDEN HEILAND. These attractive settings will be a wonderful addition to the organist’s library.

The Importance of Movement in the Divine Service

As anyone who spends time around kids can attest, children love to move. In fact, it is often difficult to get them to sit still, and many teachers know how beneficial it is to plan lessons in which children can move their bodies while still learning. Like many things, this characteristic of children speaks truth about human beings in general: we are made to move.

Music of the Month: Praetorius Chorales for SAB Choir

This three-volume set edited by William Braun includes the SAB chorale settings of Michael Praetorius, making this collection accessible to most choirs. The settings may be used as a complete selection by the choir, as an anthem, or in alteration with the congregation for the Hymn of the Day.

The Liturgy of Back-to-School Routines

In this “Back to School!” time of year, what are your routines? You may be back in school already or preparing for its arrival in the coming weeks. It is this time of year that—whether or not we are actively involved in a school as a student, teacher, parent, administrator, church worker, or volunteer—we tend to pay attention to a change in routines. Summer’s coming to a close and the rapidly approaching autumn signals a return to stricter schedules and more involved days.

The Heritage of Music during the Reformation

This blog post has been adapted from an article that appears in Lutheranism 101: third edition.

Music of the Month: Chorale Preludes of Georg Philipp Telemann

The new music collection features an assortment of nineteen wonderful preludes by Georg Philipp Telemann (1681–1767) and edited by Sam Eatherton. Telemann composed chorale preludes that were typically set twice, the first in three voices and the second alio modo or aliter (“in another way”) consisting of two voices (bicinium), making these settings valuable to student and seasoned organists alike. This collection of chorale preludes was carefully selected and edited by Sam Eatherton to be compatible with Lutheran Service Book and other hymnals. These settings provide a fresh alternative that will appeal to church organists looking for new ways to present these German chorale tunes.

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