About Concordia

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About the Center

Church Music in a Liturgical Perspective

The Beginnings

The Center for Church Music was dedicated on October 18, 2010 (photo below) and is presently located in the Klinck Memorial Library on the campus of Concordia University Chicago. See map.Center for Church Music Ribbon Cutting

The Center came into being as the result of two extraordinary gifts to the University—one from Dr. Carl and Noël Schalk and another from the family of the late Dr. Richard Hillert.

To help establish the Center, the Hillerts presented to the University (as a permanent loan) the  manuscripts and published compositions of Dr. Hillert, distinguished professor emeritus of music at Concordia. A noted Lutheran composer, Hillert is probably best known for his “Holy Communion, Setting 1” including “Worthy Is Christ,” the canticle known as “This is the feast.”

To further establish the Center, the Carl Schalk American Lutheran Hymnal Collection was gifted to the University, encompassing more than 530 volumes including Lutheran hymnals in English, German, Norwegian and Swedish, published in the United States and the Pennsylvania colony as early as 1786; in Germany between 1726 and 1787; and in Australia since 1936. It includes the first editions from the presses of important early American printers and publishers including Christopher Sauer, Peter Leibert and Michael Billmeyer. Since then the Center has added to its onsite collections on loan the 

The Center serves as  a repository for special collections and works by history’s influential Christian church musicians, including significant contributions by American Lutherans.  As a locus for the study of church music, the Center will also disseminate papers and monographs for conferences such as CUC’s annual Vi Messerli Memorial Lectures in Church Music.

Through its work, the Center extends the legacy of a gifted generation of Lutheran church musicians. It seeks to foster an appreciation and understanding of the Church’s song among pastors, musicians, and laity, all the while encouraging the next generation of composers of sacred music.