Thoughts on “Hope of the World”

The thoughts below were prepared for the “Devotions on the Hymn of the Day” project of the Center for Church Music at Concordia University, Chicago. This devotion is on “Hope of the World,” the Hymn of the Day for the Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 24B) on Sunday, October 18, 2015. For additional devotions, click here. For a downloadable PDF version of this devotion, click here. “Hope” is an optimistic word… Read More »

“Soli Deo Gloria” – The Fifth Sola

Earlier this month we were able to personally thank over 60 of the musicians, volunteers, and supporters of the Peoria Bach Festival at our annual Peoria Bach Festival Appreciation Party. This blog is dedicated to them and all those who make the Peoria Bach Festival possible. As you may know, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) concluded all of his sacred compositions and many of his secular works with the phrase “Soli Deo… Read More »

Thoughts on “Our Father, By Whose Name”

The thoughts below were prepared for the “Devotions on the Hymn of the Day” project of the Center for Church Music at Concordia University, Chicago. This devotion is on “Hope of the World,” the Hymn of the Day for the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 22B) on Sunday, October 4, 2015. For additional devotions, click here. For a downloadable PDF version of this devotion, click here. So, who gets to decide what… Read More »

Peoria Bach Festival 2015

Join the Peoria Bach Festival from May 31-June 7, 2015 for another week of celebrating the music, art, and faith of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Altogether there will be eight concerts, several free lectures, two festival worship services, and an event for children. The primary work for the Peoria Bach Festival 2015 will be Cantata 147 “Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben” (“Heart and Mouth and Deeds and Life”)… Read More »

Top Ten List – April 2015

Last week this blog surpassed 7,500 total hits. Not much as far as some blogs go, but pretty good I guess for this little one on sacred music. I hope that you have found some practical and, most importantly, spiritual benefit from my thoughts and ramblings. If you know of anyone who could benefit from these postings, please forward this message to them and encourage them to subscribe as well. In case… Read More »

A Lament? At Easter?

One aspect of the Resurrection story that is difficult for many of us to appreciate is the depth of the sorrow and grief that the followers of Jesus must have felt after His crucifixion. No doubt this would have amplified the confusion, disbelief, and ultimately the joy that they experienced upon hearing that He had risen from the dead. There is a section at the beginning of Bach’s Easter Oratorio that… Read More »

Observe Good Friday with the Peoria Bach Festival

Observe Good Friday this year by watching the Peoria Bach Festival 2010 performance of the St. Matthew Passion. You can find it on the Peoria Bach Festival YouTube page by clicking here or following the link below. Although the performance is in German, English subtitles are provided making the story easy to understand and follow. The translation is a literal one so that the original meaning of the German is as… Read More »

Instruments in the Bible – Bells

It turns out that we have two bell concerts on the Trinity Concert Series this year (www.trinityconcertseries.org). Just this past weekend we welcomed handbell soloist Kristine Stout (www.joybelltheater.com) to our church and on May 17, Dr. John Behnke will bring the Alleluia Ringers from Concordia University, Wisconsin for a concert. Bells are mentioned only seven times in Scriptures and only in one context. However, it is obvious from the context… Read More »

Thoughts on “O Wondrous Type! O Vision Fair”

The thoughts below were prepared for the “Devotions on the Hymn of the Day” project of the Center for Church Music at Concordia University, Chicago. This devotion is on “O Wondrous Type! O Vision Fair,” the Hymn of the Day for the Transfiguration of Our Lord on Sunday, February 15, 2015. For additional devotions, click here. The four Gospels reveal how important Moses and Elijah were to Jesus. Altogether the Gospel writers… Read More »

The Sound of Rejoicing . . . Could Be Heard Far Away

Stuck in the recesses of the Old Testament is a story that every musician should know. It comes from the book of Nehemiah, which might seem an unlikely place for a musician to venture. In Nehemiah 12, however, there is a highly descriptive account of the role that musicians played in the dedication walls of Jerusalem after they were finally rebuilt following the Babylonian Exile. It involves many musicians with many trumpets… Read More »