Music at First Lutheran

 “In contrast to Christian traditions which, on the one hand, emphasize only congregational singing, or, on the other, only sophisticated art music, the Lutheran tradition has from its beginning encouraged the reciprocal interaction of simple congregational song and art music of the most sophisticated kind. The result is an environment in which congregations, musicians, and composers all contribute to a vibrant worship life.”

Statement on Worship and Music
by the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, 2003


The gathered assembly makes up the largest choir at FLC.  In a Lutheran understanding of worship, the role of cantors, choirs, the organ, and other instruments is to enhance the musical participation by the whole assembly.  This is accomplished by enriching assembly song and by providing support to worship as portions of the liturgy are entrusted to those who have rehearsed on behalf of the congregation.  It is important to present a broad spectrum of music which enables worshipers to feel that they are a part of the history of the Church, while also being a living voice which unites people from all times, places, and circumstances.

Those of all ages and abilities seeking further involvement in the music ministry of the congregation are invited to consider the following:


Singers:  The choir is comprised of professional and volunteer voices and leads the assembly song.  In addition to specialized hymn stanzas and elaborate psalm settings, this group presents pieces from the sacred choral repertoire.  Due to limited time and the intense environment of rehearsals, the ability to read music is required.


Instrumentalists:  Although professional instrumentalists are engaged for the festival services, volunteers from the congregation and community are utilized frequently in the presentation of hymns and service music, to accompany the choirs, or to provide a solo musical offering.  When incorporating music from non-Western cultures in worship, we also use a variety of global instruments including African drums, boomwhackers, gongs, ocean drums, and rainsticks.  Our beginning guitar class, which began during the pandemic, has also been popular among teenagers and retirees. 

Yes, we have handbells, too!  We do not ring in a traditional large ensemble format at this time, opportunities exist to explore solo and small ensemble ringing. 


Music for Children:  Before the onset of COVID-19, children (pre-K through Grade 3) were meeting on Sunday mornings to explore the rudiments of music and the development of the singing voice, using simple songs and age-appropriate musical games.  Various rhythm instruments were also used during the music time.  Grades 4-6 were exploring the technique of part-singing using rounds and descants.  This opportunity is currently suspended until children can be vaccinated against the coronavirus.


Music as Spiritual Care: We know from the work of neurologists and psychiatrists the power of the sung word to remain in the memory longer than the spoken word.  Music has the capacity to penetrate the mind when other forces fail, and to break down barriers immediately and forcefully.  Music can also give voice to the pain which arises from various wounds and restore a sense of inner safety and well-being.  Music can restore us to that primal experience of being in our mothers’ wombs; the sounds and senses of being held, contained, and protected; hearing our mother’s voice speaking, humming, or singing through her body; the rhythm of her heartbeat, the breath of her lungs, the pace of her walking.  Healing takes place when we can experience this sense for a moment.

As an extension to the church’s mission to bring healing and wholeness to mind, body, and spirit, we utilize music in therapeutic ways which are interactive, engaging, and energizing.  Outside of worship, programs include guided meditations, mobility-strengthening activities, memory care, as well as drum circles for our senior citizens and teenagers.

We are working to expand this initiative to include intentional ministry to people on the Autism spectrum, senior citizens experiencing dementia, children with developmental or learning disabilities, individuals participating in recovery programs, military veterans and other victims of PTSD or traumatic brain injuries.

Music In Our Schools: First Lutheran is proud to support the work of music education in our neighborhood schools.  In addition to providing resources for stage and classroom, we offer the use of our facilities for performances, workshops, and private lessons.  In exchange, our worship is enhanced by various soloists, instruments, and ensembles throughout the year.  Plans are being made to host an annual concert (presented by faculty, students, and alumni) to benefit the Roby Memorial Fund for Music Education. 

If you would like to contribute ideas or other gifts to this ministry, or to sponsor a student for Lutheran Summer Music, please contact the Director of Music.

For more information, contact us HERE