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

August 2022

Whom Do You Have?

As church musicians, we are SO blessed!  We have work which is critically important, eminently worth doing. It continues to be “a high and holy calling.” The sheer privilege of what we are about is in itself so motivating.

Further we are daily encouraged simply by the materials we use, those items of tangible beauty and spiritual value-texts and music which inspire, deepen understanding, change and uplift us as humans. For church musicians, these are some of the gifts by which the Spirit of Christ “calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies” us and our vocation.

Still, when we are honest, we can admit there are times when we feel alone, undervalued, even misunderstood. This emotional state can be found within our family & friends, our congregation and staff, in our increasingly secular culture and even in our church’s culture. We can pray with the psalmist “Whom have I in heaven but you?” (73:25a) and, at the same time, wonder to ourselves “Yeah, but what about here on earth?”

It is reassuring, of course, that Jesus, who is present among us in our gathering and in his Word and sacraments, experienced these same feelings. Whether unappreciated within his own family, not fully recognized by his disciples and followers, and even, on the cross, abandoned by his Father, he knows fully the weaknesses of our human condition. That is why he redeemed us and loves us still.

But we are also, in our created nature, meant for relationships. This is true, not only with family and our circle of friends, but also within our vocation.  As a former pastor would always say, “It’s a wonderful mystery-when we share sorrows, they are diminished, but when we share joys, they are multiplied.” Professors of psychology remind us that talking with trusted friends helps us to process stressful events and lifts our self-esteem. Scientific research even shows positive effects on the brain and body. It’s built into our DNA.

Take time to connect with other church musicians. It can be coffee on Friday with one or two cantors in your area. It can be an online group. (CIVA-Christians in the Visual Arts-has “Heart to Heart” groups for this same purpose.) There are conferences, organizations like the ALCM and, of course, the Center for Church Music. So many opportunities for sharing, advocacy, encouragement, ideas, resources, stories-wow!

So…whom do you have? As it turns out, a lot of folks! People who “get” you, value and understand first hand what you do. Take time to receive those blessings from people around you!

Barry Bobb

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.

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. 

Contact Center Director Barry Bobb or call 314-258-2341 to make arrangements.