Dr. Paul Manz, well-known musician, dies

Dr. Paul Otto Manz, a well-known Lutheran organist, composer, church musician, and teacher, died Oct. 28 in St. Paul, Minn., after several weeks of hospice care.  Dr. Manz, 90, reportedly died surrounded by family members, as they sang manz.gif“E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come,” his most famous choral work.

A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, St. Paul, with a prelude beginning at 1:30 p.m.  Gloria Dei is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

In addition, a special choral chapel service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 13, in the Graebner Memorial Chapel at Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn.  With the theme “They need no light … for Christ will be their all,” the service will celebrate the lives of Dr. Manz and his wife, Ruth, who died in 2008.

Dr. Manz, who served as a Concordia University professor and chair of the university’s Music Department from 1957 to 1976, “touched the hearts and lives of many faculty, staff, students, and alumni of Concordia,” according to Sarah Erkkinen, director of the university’s alumni relations and annual fund.  “He was a pivotal advocate for the creation of a permanent home for music on campus that would include music classrooms, practice rooms, and performance spaces — a dream that was realized with the 1974 dedication of Buetow Music Center.”

More than a million copies of Dr. Manz’s popular anthem, “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come,” are in circulation worldwide, according to Erkkinen, and the classic motet is still sung “at the conclusion of nearly every major Concordia, St. Paul, campus event,” she said.

Dr. Manz’s life and career were filled with honors and accolades that many performing musicians strive for, yet seldom attain, according to Morningstar Music Publishers, Fenton, Mo., his music publisher.

He was perhaps best known for his ability to play the organ and compose music.  During his career, Dr. Manz played numerous concerts, appearing with symphony orchestras at venues such as The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; the Symphony Center in Chicago; and Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.

“Even with an enviable career as a concert organist, Manz’s heart was deeply rooted in his work as a parish church musician,” noted Scott M. Hyslop, director of parish music at St. Lorenz Lutheran Church in Frankenmuth, Mich.  When asked what advice he would give someone starting out in church music today, Dr. Manz said, “Love the people you have been called to serve,” according to Hyslop.

“Paul Manz always epitomized a consummate church man and musician,” said Rev. David A. Johnson, executive director of the LCMS Commission on Worship. “He leaves behind an unforgettable legacy of music that has shaped and blessed the performance practice of organists worldwide who seek to creatively and inspirationally accompany and interpret congregational hymnody.

“His contribution in the field of church music is virtually unparalleled in the past century,” Johnson said.  “His choral title, ‘E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come,’ is renowned throughout Christendom and will continue to be sung for generations to come.  In the artistry and practice of church music, Paul Manz will never be forgotten.”

During his 37 years (1946-83) as director of Christian education and music at Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Dr. Manz developed hymn festivals that “caught on like wildfire,” he said, and he eventually presented them all over the world.

In 1983, Dr. Manz and his wife moved to Chicago, where he became Christ Seminex Professor of Church Music and Artist in Residence at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) and served as cantor at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Luke, which established the Paul Manz Institute of Church Music.

He retired from the LSTC in 1992, and from the institute and St. Luke in 1999.

Among the accolades Dr. Manz received during his career were the “Alumni Merit Award” from Northwestern University; the “Confessor of Christ Award” from LSTC; the “Gutenberg Award” from the Chicago Bible Society; and the “Wittenberg Arts Award” from the Luther Institute in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Manz and his wife, Ruth, had four children: David, who died at birth; Michael, who died in 2006 (his widow, Patricia, lives in Spokane, Wash.); John (Ellen) of St. Paul; and Peter (Stephanie) of Portland, Ore.  They also adopted the four children of Ruth’s brother, Herbert Mueller, and his wife, Helene, after their deaths: Mary Mueller Bode (Joel, deceased) of St. Paul; Anne Mueller Klinge (David) of St. Louis; Sarah Mueller Forsberg (Dale) of Minneapolis; and John Mueller of Spokane.

Posted Nov. 2, 2009

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