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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.

Six Myths about Christmas Hymns

As we wait for the arrival of the Savior, here is a guest post from Rev. Dr. Jon D. Vieker, one of the three general editors of Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymnswhich originally appeared in the December 2019 edition of The Lutheran Witness.

Finding Advent and Christmas Music This Season

Advent is finally here, and Christmas is just around the corner. This is a great time for celebration, from setting up the Christmas tree and placing the nativity scene to singing hymns and carols for all to hear. If you’re looking for additional ways to get into the Advent and Christmas spirit, check out these musical ideas below!

Three Thanksgiving Hymn Histories: Companion to the Hymns

November is a time of thanksgiving. We reflect and give thanks for everything that God has provided for us physically, spiritually, and emotionally. During this month, many churches, perhaps even your church, sing hymns of thanksgiving each Sunday. If you’re curious about the backstory and historical context of thanksgiving hymns (or any other hymn!), LSB: Companion to the Hymns is a great resource. To illustrate, we’ve picked three of these hymns and their histories to share in-depth.

5 Fun Facts from the new LSB: Companion to the Hymns

Have you ever wanted to know more about the history of the hymns in Lutheran Service Book? Do you ever wonder what the lives of those who wrote our hymns were like? Good news—we have a book for that. Everyone at Concordia Publishing House is incredibly excited to announce the launch of Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymns. This comprehensive hymn companion is rich with compelling facts—many newly discovered through extensive research of original sources in libraries all over the world. We’ve picked our top five for you to check out today.

Why Music Education Is Important

Why do we teach music?

Hymns as Poems: What Do They Mean without Music?

I was recently gifted a book of the poetry of George Herbert. Herbert was a seventeenth-century aristocrat-turned-deacon in the Church of England whose English-language poems were published posthumously. Herbert’s almost exclusively Christian poetry is a beautiful expression of faith. Herbert captures the wonder of God’s love for us, the enormity of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, and the joy of our salvation again and again. In his work, in fact, his poems remind me of our hymnal and the poetic expressions of faith captured therein. Reading his poetry inspired me to think of hymns as poems as well.