Dr. Carl Schalk HS ’48, BA ’52, distinguished professor emeritus of music, had an immeasurable impact on Concordia University Chicago, the LCMS, Christianity and beyond. His students and collaborators, as well as the broader Church and world, have been blessed by his musical compositions, wisdom, humor and gentle spirit.
His profound legacy will continue to live on through his music. It also lives on through all those whose lives he touched, and his story is, perhaps, best seen through the eyes of others. The memories shared below are just an excerpt—read the full story in the Spring 2021 Forester, which only begins to scratch the surface of the vastness of Carl’s influence on so many.
“Dad was always looking to use his gifts to help serve the church, whether through music compositions, books he’s written, letters or workshops. He didn’t hesitate to help with requests to write a hymn for an occasion…” —Tim Schalk BA ’80
“What Carl and his colleagues established was that church music itself was a discipline and something you could pursue a career in; not just something you did after work as a hobby. He made it so you came out of Concordia with a degree in church music, which was unheard of before that…” —Barry Bobb BA ’73, MCM ’78, director of the Center for Church Music
“As a college student, I remember singing the hymn of the day at a worship service—and the song elicited this deep emotional response that I wasn’t able to put into words. I later learned that it was a Schalk piece, and so I was realizing the power of his music from the start of my career…” —Karen Brunssen, CUC music faculty 1979-1993
“CUC’s students couldn’t imagine an annual Lessons and Carols service without ‘Noël, Noël,’ which was written by Carl for his wife, Noël. Years ago, students would get excited about ‘Schalk sightings,’ when Carl and Noël would attend and be seen holding hands during the performance of that piece…” —Dr. Charles Brown, CUC professor of music