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

Advent 2020

“Poised on the Edge of a Promise”*

As the weariness of dealing with the pandemic lingers and deepens, people often inquire of one another in distanced conversation: “How’s your state of mind?” It’s an important and useful question, foundational to our daily life.

For those who help the Church sing its praises in music and the arts, our mien has a special poignancy right now.

Our answer might be: “I’m poised on the edge of a promise.”

“Poised” implies a lot—

  • I’m composed, have things in balance;
  • I am prepared, eager but anxious about what’s coming next;
  • I live and work in anticipation and expectancy

Wow... sounds a lot like Advent! Like every year, we’re leadings songs of prophecy, longing and hope. God became incarnate for us. Jesus comes and dwells with us, even now. Messiah is coming!

But this year these dimensions also describe the larger picture of our vocation. There is no doubt that church music and liturgical art is going to be crucial in helping lift the Church and God’s people out of the darkness of these times and into the new reality of what ministry is going to look like moving forward in 2021 and beyond

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” [Philippians 4:13]

God’s hesed, his indescribable loving-kindness, made known in a manger, is also constantly present with each of us right now, strengthening us, giving insight and showing us the way forward to the Light by his Spirit.

"O Jesus Christ, thy manger is my paradise at which my soul reclineth. For there, O Lord, doth lie the Word made flesh for us; herein thy grace forth shineth."

- Paul Gerhardt

Blessings to all! Stay safe...

Barry Bobb
Director/Center for Church Music

[* I picked up this phrase from Michael Card’s A Sacred Sorrow.]

Five Aspects of the Center for Church Music

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

The Arts in Worship

After many years of focusing her art practice on the creation of commissioned liturgical projects, Lutheran artist Linda Witte Henke is now pleased to offer seasonal liturgical collections of visual resources as a gift to the church.

View an overview of the Lent Year B collection

Access the Lent Year B editable images

Artist Interviews

Center for Church Music interview with Sara Nordling

Watch Now

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.