Martin Dicke

Dr. Martin Dicke is a Musical specialist with the Office of International Mission of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Prior to accepting that position in May 2016, he was the Cantor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Peoria, Illinois for 14 years. Having served in various capacities as a church musician over the course of his career, Martin is now returning to Papua New Guinea, the place of his birth, to serve as a musical educator and adviser to the people of the Gutnius (Good News) Lutheran Church, a church LCMS missionaries helped establish in the early 1960s. Martin's parents Edward and Phyllis served as missionaries in the Enga Province of PNG for 20 years and his uncle and aunt Rev. Dr. Willard and Elinor Burce served in PNG for 40 years. After attending Concordia University, St. Paul, Martin served churches in both Minnesota and Iowa, taught at a Lutheran high school for fifteen years, founded and directed a select choir in St. Paul/Minneapolis for ten years, and conducted the Chamber Singers of Iowa City for three. For several years Martin served as the Dean of the Peoria Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He has a masters and doctorate in choral conducting (University of Minnesota and Iowa respectively). While at Trinity he helped establish the Trinity Concert Series (www.trinityconcertseries.org) and the Peoria Bach Festival (www.peoriabachfestival.org) held annually during the first week of June. At the same time, having grown up on the mission field he has a heart for songs of the global Church that proclaim Christ. His recent composition - Fanfare, Fugue, and Chorale on CRUCIFER for brass choir - was premiered at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in October 2014 in connection with the opening of the Concordia Historical Institute's Exhibit "Bringing Christ to the Highlands: Painting a Portrait of Early Lutheran Mission Work in Papua New Guinea." Sound samples of his music are available at www.soundcloud.com/jubalslyre.

Author Archives: Martin Dicke

Why Study Music?

A couple of months ago my wife came across a meme on Facebook entitled “Reasons to Study Music.” With compelling graphics, it offered six to eight benefits that studying music provides. I’ve seen similar lists before, but all are derived from a secular viewpoint. I was led to come up with a list that also provides a Biblical and theological viewpoint. If you find the list useful, please feel free… Read More »

The Theological Basis of Music

Below is a brief statement providing the theological basis for music. I have begun to place it in concert programs and read it before concerts, even children’s recitals. It is never too early to educate children about God’s gift of music. It gives them a purpose and a reason for practicing and learning their instrument. Music ministries in Christian churches may also find it useful. The statement may be used… Read More »

“Wolcum Yole”: A Carol for the Seasons of Christmas and Epiphany

On this, the Twelfth Day of Christmas, I thought you might enjoy the carol “Welcome Yole!” It is one of the few that mentions the Twelve Days of Christmas and its Feast Days specifically. The text is relatively simple enjoining us to celebrate Christmas, its Feast Days, and the New Year together. The most well-known setting is the second movement of A Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten (1913-76). Below… Read More »

“Silent Night” – A New Metrical Translation of All Six Stanzas for Both the Original and the Modern Melodies

A new metrical translation of all six stanzas of “Silent Night” in their original order that can be sung to either the original melody or the melody commonly sung today. The translation better reflects the meaning of the original text, but also has the exact same meter in each stanza so that it can be sung easily to both melodies.

Christmas and the Spectacular Music of Michael Praetorius

In 1994 Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort released an absolutely stunning recording of sacred music. In the previous years they had released three recordings: A Venetian Coronation, a recreation of a coronation that took place in Venice, Italy in 1595 (released 1990); Christmas Mass in Rome featuring the music of Palestrina (released 1993); and Venetian Vespers, a recreation of an evening service as it might have been celebrated at… Read More »

“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and the Advent Season

“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” is one of most popular musical works of all time. However, what are its origins? Interestingly, it has a connection to the Church Year and the Season of Advent. Let’s begin in the little village of Nazareth in the region of Galilee around the year 1 AD.

Robin Leaver on “The Eternal Song”

In 1984 the eminent scholar Robin Leaver, whose work has focused extensively on sacred music, published a monograph of the Passions of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). On the first page of this monograph he provides succinct and profound insights into the Biblical theology of music. For your convenience, I provide them below with links so that you can easily study the Bible passages yourself. The links sometimes include more Bible… Read More »

Handel’s “Messiah” for Children

A Blessed Easter to all of you! Children love picture books. Now it is possible to introduce children to Handel’s Messiah, one of sacred music’s most beloved and frequently performed works. In so doing, you will not only introduce them to a great piece of music, but also teach them the Biblical story of salvation (see my previous blogs Handel’s Messiah – Biblical, Christological, and Eschatological and Text Study –… Read More »

A Christmas with Paul Gerhardt in 1659

I pray that you enjoyed a Merry Christmas, even in these difficult and strange times, and were blessed by a lot of sacred music. I came across a story about the 1659 Christmas Day service at the Nikolaikirche (Church of St. Nicholas) in Berlin, Germany that I thought I would share. One of the pastors at the church at that time was Paul Gerhardt (1607-76), one of the great hymn… Read More »

“And Take They Our Life” – More Thoughts on “A Mighty Fortress”

The short phrase “and take they our life” is the fifth line of the fourth and final stanza of one of the greatest Christian hymns in all of sacred music, “A Mighty Fortress” (EIN FESTE BURG) by Martin Luther (1483-1546). This phrase consists of five words in English and only four in the original German, “nehmen sie den Leib,” but behind it lies Luther’s entire Theology of Martyrdom which points… Read More »