Worship bands provide excellence in music and student leadership
The Concordia Courier
By Rebekah Michel | 9/22/2023
Every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 10:30 a.m., university facilities are closed, classes are paused and individuals gather in the CU Center for a 25 minute gathering in song, prayer and the Word of God.
While other worship services may feature the music of professionals in their respective fields, chapel at Concordia highlights the talents of our students in the Music Department. From Monday to Sunday, students in the Music Department lead worship with their musical talents, and their hearts on fire for the Lord.
For many of the students in the Music Department, worship bands allow them to be active in the community at Concordia. When attending chapel or worship at Concordia, you will frequently find students alongside faculty and university staff. This environment further builds the sense of community and unity on campus. “I think it’s a really special privilege that not a lot of people get to do,” said Athan Birsinger, sophomore. Birsinger is the drummer for the Friday chapel band amongst other various ensembles on campus.
Under the direction of Dana Decker, Studio Faculty for Bass, and Joel Held, Director of Worship Arts, the worship bands only rehearse once a week, requiring a great deal of individual practice time from the students. “We are preparing new songs every week. It forces you to think differently,” said Katie Salmon, senior. Salmon is a vocalist for the Friday chapel band, in addition to being a Student CU Source Coordinator for abbey west.
Several of the students that partake in worship bands are involved in other ensembles at Concordia. However, the rate at which music is learned and is polished for worship is unlike any other music ensemble. “I think that is one of the most challenging parts of the group is that it comes so quickly. Church music is really tricky because it has to be at a very high level, but done very fast. There are not a lot of other
gigs like that... There is a lot of improvisation,” said Decker. The involvement of students in worship bands is one that not only benefits those who attend chapel, but also the musicianship of the ensemble members.
Throughout the week, there is an opportunity to highlight a wide range of musical repertoire and worship settings. In addition to the Monday and Friday chapel bands, there are also student ensembles that provide vibrant music for Thursday night SHOUT! and Sunday evening CU Source.
For students and faculty in Concordia, this attribute of worship is one of great importance. “We have a Creator who created the heavens and the earth and created every single one of us,” said Kendall Guse, senior. “The hope for us is that we reflect that variety with our music that we choose and offer here. For us as artists, it is our only hope that we can reflect the creativity of our Creator back to Him.” Guse is a vocalist for their Friday chapel band and has joined in several other commercial ensembles at Concordia.
Members of the chapel band hope to create an environment where each student and faculty member feels welcomed and encouraged to worship as a community. “My hope is that everyone and anyone can feel comfortable to come into a place of worship and worship however, they feel comfortable. We are all here to praise one God, regardless of who you are and where you come from,” said Kaitlyn Bills, junior. Bills is a keyboardist for the Friday chapel band, in addition to serving on abbey west as one of the SHOUT! Coordinators.
Chapel is offered Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, at 10:30 a.m. in the CU Center, alongside SHOUT! student-led worship on Thursday nights at 9:30 p.m. in the CU Center, and CU Source on Sunday nights at 6:30 p.m. at Good Shepherd Chapel.
About Rebekah Michel
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