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

Reformation Day - Oct. 31, 2023

Reflections on the hymn "O Kingly Love"

“A Trumpet None Can Silence or Mistake”

For the 450th anniversary of the Reformation, Lutheran hymnwriter Martin Franzmann penned the hymn “O Kingly Love” which included this recurring verse---

“….that in the days when alien sound had all but drowned thine ancient, true, and constant melody,
Thy mighty hand did make a trumpet none could silence or mistake;
Thy living breath did blow for all the world to hear, living and clear:

The feast is ready. Come to the feast,

The good and the bad,

Come and be glad!

Greatest and least, come to the feast!”

That hymn came to mind during a recent presentation by another Lutheran hymnwriter, Stephen Starke, as he echoed the question of the psalmist “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? (Psalm 137:4).

Indeed our culture can often feel these days like a foreign land. The Church and its message are being challenged from all sides, including from within.

How comforting to know that throughout all time, the Lord raises up voices within the Church and strengthens his people to be bold in proclaiming his welcoming message.

As Starke concluded, “How can we not sing the Lord’s song?!”

Stay strong and rejoice in your “high and holy calling”.  In all your planning, rehearsing, and music-making, keep sounding that message of God in the risen and ascended Lord Jesus. Come to the feast!

It is a message that the world still definitely needs and even yearns to hear.

Christ’s Spirit is working through you and your ministry as he calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies, and keeps the Church one.

Blessings as you sing forth the Gospel call …

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.