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

Carl Schalk: In Memoriam

A Cloud and a Crowd

As the news of Carl Schalk’s passing spread yesterday, I received an email from a friend recalling something Richard Hillert said on his last day. After finishing a bit of Italian ice and declaring it “delicious,” he said in quiet awe, “They’re gathering; there’s a lot of them.” My friend imagined that same crowd gathering—"a cloud of witnesses”— yesterday morning at 1208 Park Drive. What Richard saw with his Simeon eyes of faith, Carl now beholds face-to-face.

The last 24 hours have been filled via social media, email, and phone calls with countless stories, tears, laughter, and appreciation.

We so appreciate his Christian walk, the faithful and boundless care he received from his children—Jan, Becky, Tim—and his caregiver Miranda, and the continual support of his many, many friends.

We so rejoice in the heavenly gifts he now receives as a part of his eternal reward, not the least of which is again being with his beloved Noël.

We marvel at the gifts he bestowed on the Church and on each of us:

  • he gave us enduring hymn tunes;
  • he gave us a trove of sacred music which will be treasured for generations;
  • he gave us a model of churchmanship, marked by a winsome manner, full of humor and humility;
  • he gave us each other. Through his tireless efforts, Carl Schalk raised (restored really) the vocation of church music with its discipline and “high and holy calling.” He played a major role in lifting up the church musician (cantor) as a vital part of a congregation’s ministry. He established the Biblical and theological basis for everything we do and showed us how to do it in a practical and effective manner. And he found ways to link us all together (Lectures in Church Music, Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, Lutheran Music Program).

We are all so blessed to be a part of such a crowd of living witnesses—sharing joys, dividing sorrows, constantly encouraging one another and serving God’s people in their song of faith!

Requiem aeternam, Carl Flentge Schalk…

Barry Bobb
Director/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

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.