Last night we had our Spring Recital at Christ Lutheran Academy. Each fall (winter) and spring we typically have a recital to showcase the wonderful musical talent that our student body possesses. In a school of 29 students in grades 1-8, we have 24 piano students, plus viola, guitar, and I don’t even know what else! This is in addition to our choral program, which involves all our our students in many different ways.
This strong music program has played itself out academically at our schools at many levels. Music teaches discipline, learning to practice, intervals, it helps with mathematics, language, and learning how to focus on a task. Our music program not only involves piano and voice, but musicals (grades K-3 recently performed the Selfish Giant, see pic below), and even some dance!
In addition all of this, the spiritual benefits are myriad. How much singing is done in church, and how does God use music and song to carry the Gospel? It is hard to underestimate the spiritual benefits that a solid music program can have upon the individual and a congregation.
As a congregation my parish is known as a singing church. If you’ll allow me to brag just a little, I can throw nearly anything at them in terms of hymns or liturgy, and they will get it within a couple tries, and will probably learn to love it within half a dozen. There are a lot of reasons for that, but one of the big ones is that we have so many children at our church that attend our Academy and who learn music and hymnody every day. Every Sunday I can hear them singing, with these beautiful clear voices, teaching us adults what it means to sing to the Lord a new song (Ps. 98:1).
So who is the inspiration behind our fine music program? Really there are two people, although many others could be mentioned:
Monica Scholz (on the left) is our piano teacher. She comes in to CLA I think two days a week to teach nearly all of our students. Because of the flexibility of a multi-grade classroom, the students are able to take their piano lessons during the day, and make up their school work at another time. One less trip for the parents! (That can’t be bad.) Monica is also the music director and one of the organists at Messiah Lutheran Church, my congregation.
Kathryn Peperkorn (on the right) is our choir director. She comes to CLA for choir at least twice a week, but it often ends up being more than that. The choir sings at our two congregations (Messiah and Lamb of God) roughly once a month, so that CLA will sing at each parish about three or four times during the academic year. The CLA choir will also sing for special services such as Epiphany and Ascension. Kathryn, a voice teacher and professional singer, is also the artistic director for SEWPA, SouthEast Wisconsin Performing Arts.
While these two people serve as the anchor for our music program, there are other people and places that contribute as well. Elyse Ahlgrimm is our kindergarten teacher, but she is also the organist and choir director at Grace Lutheran Church in Racine. We are also blessed with the wonderful acoustics at Lamb of God Lutheran Church, where Christ Lutheran Academy resides.
This week we are learning LSB 942, Kyrie, God Father in Heav’n Above. The children know it already, their parents will learn it, and our congregations will learn it as well, thanks to all these wonderful people and places who make music such a big part of our lives.
Happy Cantate Week! Sing to the Lord a New Song!
-Pastor Todd Peperkorn
Originally posted at Christ Lutheran Academy