I have just re-read “Nurturing Tomorrow’s Church Musicians” in the March Lutheran Witness, and I had to write and thank you for a wonderful tribute to the Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival. It was especially nice connecting names and faces of young people experiencing what must be a life-changing time for them.
The entire March issue with its numerous articles about sacred music, composers for the church, and ways that Lutheran universities are preparing church musicians was most interesting. Than you!
Having been a part of the music department of Concordia Publishing House for many years, I have always considered music a most important part of my life, especially sacred music. I am most fortunate to have sung in the church choirs for the better part of my life—praising God through music for all His wonderful gifts.
Regarding “Nurturing Tomorrow’s Church Musicians”: I felt the March Lutheran Witness printed an unrealistic picture of the health of LCMS music. In my 30 years as a synodically trained music director, I’ve noticed an increasingly un-Lutheran approach, where clever cutting-edge marketing schemes come dangerously close to “works righteousness,” while “spirit-filled” music is seen as possessing the converting power that, rightfully, is the Holy Spirit’s alone.
I’ve heard the names of the stalwart forefathers of Lutheran music (including Bach) demeaned by laity and clergy alike; while the most banal choruses attain an almost iconic status, only to be quickly replaced by even more generic and disposable ditties.
Isn’t it time to apply Martin Luther King Jr.’s wish and “judge (music) on its own worth” without regard to when it came into being? Perhaps Martin Luther’s twofold lens of “Scripture and sound reason” (science) would serve as an arbiter that may allow us to stop advertising our divisions (traditional-contemporary) and return us to plain old “worship” services!
When the clergy, laity, and music leaders start communicating in an informed, respectful manner toward attaining a God-pleasing musical life (remembering that only He can measure the results in our hearts), then we can justifiably encourage the new generations of music leaders to a stable calling.
Daniel J. Oelrich
Colorado Springs, Colo.
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