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Center for Church Music dedicated at Concordia University Chicago

From Forester Magazine, January 2011 issue:

Dedication of the Center for Church Music

On Oct. 18, more than 120 CUC alumni, faculty and friends joined University leadership and staff at Klinck Memorial Library to celebrate a very special ribbon-cutting: the dedication of The Center for Church Music at Concordia University Chicago through two extraordinary gifts to the University.

The Center will serve 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.

Joining CUC for the Center’s campus dedication this fall during the 2010 Vi Messerli series were Carl ’52 MM and Noël (Roeder) Schalk MA 82, and Gloria Hillert, wife of Richard Hillert ’51, DMus

To help establish the Center, the Hillerts have gifted the University with permanent loan of manuscripts and published compositions by the late 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."

Richard Hillert once stated that much of his work includes “arrangements for festival occasions when jubilant music is appropriate and for special times when music variety is desirable.” 

During his more than 40 years at Concordia, he produced a great body of choral, instrumental and keyboard works. The Hillert collection on permanent loan to CUC includes original copies of  musical manuscripts, notes and working materials produced during his career as composer and professor.

Schalk—author, musicologist, composer and distinguished professor emeritus at Concordia—has been awarded the prestigious Wittenberg Award from The Luther Institute and the Distinguished Composer Award from the American Guild of Organists. He  has written original music for more than 100 original hymns tunes, many found in denominational hymnals in North America, Europe, Japan and Southeast Asia.

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.

“My contribution should be used as a resource for the study of Lutheran church music for students, faculty and the larger community of students of church music and theology,” Schalk said.

Joining the Schalks and Gloria Hiller at the Oct. 18 dedication celebration were family members including Katherine Hillert Brewer; Virginia Hillert; Timothy ’80 and Ingrid Schalk  ’80; Jan Schalk Westrick ‘77; and Aaron ’04 and Tasha Schalk.

“Music and song play a vital role throughout history as well as today,” University President John F. Johnson said at the ceremony. “The collections and works found within The Center for Church Music will provide students, scholars and church musicians with a lasting heritage of music, today and well into the future.”

Steven Wente, DMus, professor of music and chair of the University’s Music Department, told those gathered: “This dedication is the realization of a long-held dream of the CUC music department.

“One of the benefits of the center is that it has the potential to bring the name of Concordia University to a larger community in the church.  We envision that various individuals and groups interested in church music will want to know of the resources available for study here.”