Our era has witnessed an almost unprecedented burst of creativity in music and the arts for the Church.

The Center for Church Music is a place where you can tap into that great flow of energy (either on site or online) in order to:

  • get new ideas for music and other arts ministries in their various forms
  • gain a perspective on the music and art of the Church
  • take time for reflection
  • connect with the larger endeavor of Lutheran church music and the arts
  • be inspired by some remarkable leaders and thinkers in our midst
  • be energized for music and Gospel-based arts ministry
  • satisfy curiosity

From the Director

The Time of Pentecost 2020

“A Crown of (Unexpected) Blessings”

How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a strange land? (Psalm 137:4)

We are indeed in a strange place these days. And yet, through the Spirit’s guidance, church musicians and pastors are finding new and imaginative ways to lead God’s people in worship. And the coronavirus pandemic and resultant shelter-in-place orders have brought an unexpected crown of blessings.

Perhaps you have noticed these as well—

  • Large blocks of uninterrupted time to work on bigger projects, many of which we would never find space to tackle in the normal course of things.
  • A deepening of personal worship. My wife and I have found, to our surprise and delight, a fuller experience of worship. Without the distractions of rehearsals, planning and other details, we have stumbled into a true Sabbath, including time to enjoy more fully Sing for Joy (St. Olaf), WorshipAnew and other similar online musical and worship offerings.
  • There’s been a lot of time to catch up on reading—both professional and for pleasure. It seems like the world too is discovering all over again the joy of the printed word. Let’s hope so!
  • There has been time to think about the future. As many have noted, this pandemic is not simply a pause in our lives; there is going to be a reset in many aspects of life when this is all over and that may mean new ways of thinking and doing the Church’s ministry.

Our prayer is that you will continue to find the Center, its expansive website and publications, fruitful for your personal and staff visioning and deliberation.

And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long, shall far outpass the power of human telling; no soul can guess his grace till it become the place wherein the Holy Spirit makes his dwelling.

Barry Bobb

Read about the five main aspects of the Center that shapes what we do and how we serve.

Resource Room

  • Books, magazines, recordings, the Schalk American Lutheran Hymnal Collection (541 volumes) and the ever-expanding archives of the original manuscripts of great American Lutheran composers & hymn writers.
  • Liturgical Choir Music Library

Digital Initiative

  • All of the volumes in the hymnal collection can be perused online at www.hymnary.org or from this website. See "Hymnal Collection Index."
  • Many of the original manuscripts are accessible online at the Center’s website (including Manz, Schalk, Hillert, Pelz, Thoms, Busarow, Bouman and others...) See "Composer Manuscript Indices".


  • Devotions, interviews, profiles, essays, forums, ideas, an arts registry

Print publications

  • Books and monographs in the Shaping American Lutheran Church Music series available through Amazon and Fortress Press

Encouragement of the next generation

  • Hillert Award in Student Composition---open to any undergrad or graduate student at a Lutheran university or seminary in the United States
  • Schalk Scholars
    • Creates awareness and access to current research in the areas of music and the arts
    • Provides stipends for research as well as publication and venues for presentations for these emerging scholars
    • Arts Registry
    • Contact information and samples from composers, visual artists, writers, designers, media artists.

The Hillert Award

The Richard Hillert Award in Student Composition is awarded every other year to a current student at a Lutheran university or seminary. Nominations are now open for the 2020 competition.

Learn More

Schalk Scholar Program

The Schalk Scholar program seeks to identify and support up and coming scholars in the area of church music. 

Learn More

Get Involved

Commit Yourself

Share your time, talents and gifts by becoming involved with the Center for Church Music. Contact the director, Barry Bobb to learn more about the different opportunities available. 

Visit the Center

Visit the Center for Church Music located in the Klinck Memorial Library on Concordia University Chicago's Campus.