It’s been “Old Home Week” at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN, considered by many Lutherans to be their “Mecca,” where we are attending the Biennial Conference of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. It’s only the first day, and we have reconnected with many of our Lutheran colleagues from all over the country.
I was especially happy to see a former organ student of mine, Janet Heitman Kings, whom I started on the organ many years ago. Janet went on to get her masters and doctorate in organ and has a full-time church position.
Tonight’s opening worship service was played by Martin Jean, now teaching organ at Yale University, but for many years, taught here at Valparaiso. He opened with the “Prelude in C Minor, BWV 546” which I just heard last week in Bakersfield! He was joined by brass and percussion on the hymns and what a grand and glorious sound it was in the reverberant Chapel of the Resurrection!
I especially enjoyed his hymn improvisations during communion. Carl said to me, “Those are first class improvisations!”
Oh, and what a grand service it was — we heard the outstanding National Lutheran Choir, conducted by David Cherwien, whom we’ve known since the 1987 conference in Seattle, WA. The Choir sang “Blagoslovi, dushe moya, Ghospoda” in high Church Slavonic (Bless The Lord, o my soul) by Mikhail Mikhailovich Ippolitov-Ivanov; from the Psalms of David by Cyrillus Kreck in Estonian; and the Lamb of God by Ola Gjielo (b. 1978). Carl thought he was back in Russia — he said the National Lutheran Choir sang so beautifully and so exquisitely.
Martin Jean’s postlude was the Bach Fugue in C minor, and then we all went to the exhibit area for a sumptuous reception and fabulous fellowship.