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

Restore and Uphold

Many years ago, Rev. Dr. Al Barry (then president of the LCMS) was asked in a meeting, “What one Scripture verse would you want to impress upon the hearts of every member of the synod?” I’ll never forget his quiet answer

—“Restore to me the joy of my salvation.” (Psalm 51:12a)

As we make our path out of this pandemic, there are so many things I’m longing to see restored…and soon…

  • The joyous sound of a full assembly of believers singing;
  • Choirs without masks (both children and adults);
  • The clamor of conversation in the narthex before and after services, people sharing in person joys and sorrows;
  • The faithful gathering at the altar to receive the sacrament.

But I also, ultimately, first and foremost, have to sing with King David—

“Restore to me the joy of my salvation.”

O Lord Jesus, fill my life again with the pleasure of life with you

I know that the Lenten emphases are a big part of returning to the Lord

  • I have to amend my life, resolve to live better;
  • I have to forgive others completely, even as I have been fully forgiven by God;
  • I have to, under the Gospel, relinquish the need for perfectionism in ministry and in my relationships with others.

"Remember, Lord, the times you called me to be your follower and friend? Your words, your cause, your self enthralled me; you gave my life a source and end. My first communion and my vow! How is our friendship now?

I dare not claim a special favor for deeds heroic, much less due. I need an understanding Savior, I need patient friend like you. I need someone to take me back, restore the joy I lack.”

- Jaroslav Vajda

The psalmist adds “…and uphold me with a willing spirit.” This is our holy, Aaronic ministry to one another as church musicians—to lift one another up and to encourage each other along our shared Lenten journey.

May yours be a rich and blessed 40 days!

Barry Bobb
Center for Church Music

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

The Arts in Worship

“Peace be with you!” is the theme for Lutheran liturgical artist Linda Witte Henke’s collection of visual resources for Easter Year B. Henke offers the editable resources as a gift to the church.

Access an overview of the Easter Year B collection

View the Easter 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.