The Center for Church Music
Church Music in Liturgical Perspective
The Center for Church Music was dedicated on October 18, 2010 and is presently located in the Klinck Memorial Library on the campus of Concordia University Chicago (See map).
The center came into being as the result of two extraordinary gifts to the University from
Dr. Carl Schalk and the late Dr. Richard Hillert.
To help establish the Center, the Hillerts have gifted the University with permanent loan of manuscripts and published compositions by the Richard Hillert, distinguished professor emeritus of music at Concordia. A noted Lutheran composer, Hillert is perhaps best known for his "Holy Communion, Setting 1" including "Worthy Is Christ," the canticle known as "This Is the Feast."
The Carl Schalk Hymnody Collection gifted to CUC encompasses more than 530 volumes including Lutheran hymnals in English, German, Norwegian and Swedish published in the United States and Pennsylvania colony as early as 1786; in Germany between 1726 and 1787; and in Australia since 1936. It includes first editions from the presses of important early American printers and publishers including Christopher Sauer, Peter Leibert and Michael Billmeyer.
The Center serves as a repository for special collections and works by history’s influential Christian church musicians, including significant contributions by Concordia-Chicago faculty and alumni. As a locus for the study of church music, the Center also will disseminate papers and monographs for conferences such as CUC’s annual Vi Messerli Lectures in Church Music.
The work of the Center for Church Music is based on the following convictions:
Worship is the center of the Church’s life. It is what the church is, a worshiping community, and from that glowing center flows all aspects of the Church’s life and mission.
For Lutherans worship is centered in Word and Sacrament. Lutherans celebrate Holy Communion each Sunday and festival, in addition providing regular occasion for the observance of historic non-Eucharistic worship centered in readings from Scripture, psalms, prayer, and hymns and canticles.
Lutherans stand unapologetically in the liturgical tradition of the Church. As such its worship is shaped by the church year, appointed readings, the singing of psalms, and a basic core of hymnody. Lutheran worship is characterized by neither faddishness nor novelty but values stability and continuity with the historic church.
Music in Lutheran worship is a vehicle for the proclamation of the good news of the Gospel and the praise of God. God is praised when the Gospel is proclaimed, and when the Gospel is proclaimed that is the way God is rightly praised.
Congregational song in liturgy and hymns is the central focus of music in Lutheran worship.. A sung liturgy and vibrant congregational singing are the norm in Lutheran worship. At the same time Lutheran worship welcomes the contribution of organ, choirs, and instruments, and the work of composers as they are centered in liturgy and congregational song.
In support of these convictions the Center for Church Music is planning a series of conferences, publications, and educational activities.