Welcome New Board Members and Staff

We have recently added two new people to our Board of Directors at The Center for Worship and Music Studies, as well as a new administrative staff person.

Introducing Janet Thompson
Janet outside bungalow, Palm Island-2_1024Janet Thompson, Treasurer of our Board, retired from the Minneapolis Area Synod of the ELCA where she served as the Assistant to the Bishop for Administration. Prior to that, she was at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. working in the areas of Alumni Relations, Church Relations, and as Associate Vice President for Advancement and College Relations. During her tenure at the college, she directed the Conference on Worship, Theology, and the Arts. Janet has served on the ELCA Church Council and Executive Committee, as the chair of the Board of Trustees of Augsburg Fortress Publishing, and as the vice president of the Saint Paul Area Synod. She holds degrees from St. Olaf College and the University of Southern California.

Introducing Anita Young
Anita Young joins the Board after recently retiring from a 35-year career at Thrivent Financial, where she worked in the insurance operations, treasury, and sales divisions. She and her husband, Jon, are also recently retired from Peace Lutheran Church in Bloomington, where they served as worship and music leaders for nearly 30 years. Anita was on the board of trustees at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, and was a founding board member of the Lutheran Community Foundation, now InFaith Community Foundation. As graduates of Gustavus, Anita and Jon are active alumni, currently co-chair the Friends of Music at Gustavus, and are recipients of the Greater Gustavus Award.

Welcome to Sarah Malm
fullsizerenderWe also welcomed Sarah Malm as Administrative Assistant in our office mid-July. She comes to us with extensive experience in the wider church as an ordained pastor for many years and more recently in church administrative office positions. In her free time, you will find her working on her custom-designed greeting cards, or singing and playing the piano.

Featured Composer Class with Nate Houge

NateHouge_webThe Center for Worship and Music Studies is excited to present a new class this fall on Saturday, October 8th at Luther Seminary from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. led by featured composer, Nate Houge. Nate is a gifted, generous musician and a fine theologian. He has travelled widely leading worship and sharing his very accessible music. Nate’s sacramental values and his deep commitment to building authentic Christian community are clearly evident in his compositions. He has been deeply involved in shaping the worship life of Humble Walk, a new ELCA church in St. Paul, MN. Students in this class will learn and sing together Nate’s wonderful congregational music.

Nate Houge grew up in Liberia as a son of missionary parents, and studied at Concordia College (now University) in St. Paul, MN. He and a friend own and operate Brake Bread, a bakery in St. Paul that offers delivery via bicycle. (The Star Tribune recently featured an article on Nate and Micah Taylor’s bread business.)

Register for Fall Classes Now!

The Center for Worship & Music Studies is excited to announce their fall line-up of nine classes being offered in October and November, including THREE NEW OFFERINGS.



8 – Featured Composer – Nate Houge Repertoire – NEW

15 – Church Audio Basics

17-19 – Worship 101

22 – Finale Music Notation for Worship

29 – Best of Worship & Praise




5 – Three “Rs” for the Church Choral Director – NEW

12 –Working with Digital Mixers – NEW

18 – Leading Congregational Singing

19 – Playing Hymns with a Worship Band



Fall_2016_coverFall class mailers have been sent out and should be received in the next few days. If you did not receive one and would like to receive a physical copy of our mailers in the future, sign up for our USPS mailing list through this form or send us an email at info@worshipandmusic.org.

Jay Beech Presents @ Rethinking Sunday Morning Conference

Color_brick_300px_72dpiTomorrow begins a three-day conference at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN through the Center for Lifelong Learning on Rethinking Sunday Morning. This conference seeks to center its conversation around the following questions as people are rethinking church-going:

  • But what is God up to in all of this?
  • And to what more faithful future are Christian communities now being called?
  • What are the practices of discipleship for a post-churchgoing world?

Jay is one of the featured presenters at the conference and will speak Thursday afternoon on the subject, Who Is Worship For? Thursday morning he will lead worship along with another one of the presenters, Joy Moore, who is Assistant Professor of Preaching at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Walk-in registrations for this event are still open. What a great opportunity to consider Sunday mornings in a new way with others!

Back by Popular Demand: Church Audio Basics


Saturday, July 23rd, The Center for Worship & Music Studies will once again be offering one of our most popular classes: Church Audio Basics!

Church Audio Basics is a one-day intensive course designed for church musicians, audio engineers, and anyone else who needs to understand the basics of sound system operations. This course also counts as an Technology Training elective for those pursuing certification.

Topics covered will include:

  • Core Values for Church Audio mixerSupport
  • System Components & Basic Mixer Operation
  • Microphones & Cables
  • Wireless Microphone Basics
  • Controlling Feedback
  • Basic Troubleshooting

These topics, along with instruction in other useful skills, will help your sound system be an asset rather a distraction. No previous experience necessary.

This class will be offered July 23rd, 9:00am-4:00pm at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Cost of registration includes lunch and a printed resource book.

Learn More

July class schedule is still open for registration!

Leadership &
Management 101
Playing Off the Page Playing Hymns with a Worship Band Church Audio Basics
July 18-20 July 21 July 22 July 23

Leadership Development Opportunity!

SusanN_teaching-1The Center for Worship & Music Studies is excited to once again offer one of our core classes,
Leadership & Management 101!

There are a great variety of skills that leaders need to develop to successfully administer a worship and music program in a congregation. In this class, eight outstanding and experienced teachers will present on topics focusing on the “unmusical” side of music and worship leadership and administration.

“Loved it! The class was outstanding! There are many notes and comments I will refer to often! THANK YOU for such an outstanding experience!” – Spring 2016 Participant

This three-day intensive at the Minnesota Church Center in Minneapolis, MN, will cover these important topics:

Learn More

Scholarships for Southwestern Minnesota Synod ELCA Worship Leaders!

 The Southwestern Minnesota Synod is offering scholarships to worship leaders who enroll in our classes. Scholarships are offered on a first come, first served basis. To be eligible, you must be a worship leader that serves regularly in an ELCA congregation within the Southwestern Minnesota Synod.

For more information, contact Clara Klawitter.

July class schedule is still open for registration!

Leadership &
Management 101
Playing Off the Page Playing Hymns with a Worship Band Church Audio Basics
July 18-20 July 21 July 22 July 23

Playing Hymns …with a Worship Band?

Pop_singer_150For the first time in the Twin Cities, The Center for Worship & Music Studies is offering Playing Hymns with a Worship Band

There has been so much dynamic new worship music written with the “praise band” in mind. However, do you ever wonder if your band-led services should include some music that wasn’t written in the last ten minutes? What about the legacy of all the great hymns of the faith? Is there a way to include that music in your contemporary services without having it feel like an academic exercise?

Instructor Jay Beech answers this question with a resounding “YES”! Jay has taken his love of hymnody, plugged it into his internal groove generator, and created very cool arrangements for the worship band. He will also talk about how the arrangements can be played without a rhythm section (drum kit and bass).

Drummer2Class will be offered Friday, July 22nd from 1:00-4:00 at Roseville Lutheran Church. The $50 enrollment fee includes one spiral-bound music book, but you can bring as many people from your church as you wish. Additional books are available for $10 each and can be purchased here.

Learn More

July class schedule is still open for registration!

Leadership &
Management 101
Playing Off the Page Playing Hymns with a Worship Band Church Audio Basics
July 18-20 July 21 July 22 July 23

Coming Soon: Playing Off the Page!

pno_hands_reflectThe Center for Worship & Music Studies is incredibly excited to once again be offering Playing Off the Page: Basic Improvisational Keyboard Techniques. Taught by music director and gifted musician, Martial Besombes, this course is designed for pianists and organists who have had traditional instruction and can read music, but would like to begin to learn to play “by ear.”

Students will receive instruction in the following: martial

  • Chord names, voicings, and inversions
  • Playing from a lead sheet
  • How to integrate and support the melody
  • Arpeggiation techniques
  • Essential rhythmic concepts
  • How to play in a band

This course will be offered July 21st, 9:00-4:00 at Augsburg College and will include lunch.

Learn More

*Note: Students will not be taught how to play improvised solos.

July class schedule is still open for registration!

Leadership &
Management 101
Playing Off the Page Playing Hymns with a Worship Band Church Audio Basics
July 18-20 July 21 July 22 July 23

New Jobs Board – WorshipCurrent Staffing

Big news!

Over the past few months, we have heard from many congregations and musicians inquiring about employment opportunities for worship leaders. The Center for Worship & Music Studies is pleased to announce that we are partnering with a new resource for churches and job seekers alike: WorshipCurrent Staffing!

WorshipCurrent Staffing was founded by W. Zachary Taylor, worship ministry consultant and former Worship & Music Education Specialist at Augsburg Fortress/Sparkhouse Publishers. The Center for Worship & Music Studies hopes to be involved with the further development and expanding utilization of this fantastic resource!

The site is now live and ready to be utilized! Our subscribers can use the special discount code featuredCWMS during checkout to receive a Featured listing for the price of an Extended listing (a $50 discount!). For any more information, email our office at info@worshipandmusic.org or Zachary at zachary@worshipcurrentstaffing.com!

To learn more about WorshipCurrent Staffing, click here!

Liturgies of Mercy Seat – NEW!

This coming week, The Center for Worship & MScott_Munsonusic Studies will be offering our BRAND NEW class, Liturgies of Mercy SeatMercy Seat is a new ELCA congregation in Northeast Minneapolis with a unique and creative approach to worship. Their website says:

“As part of Mercy Seat’s mission to rethink the Lutheran Church, we believe that the Church’s long liturgical tradition is a way in which we–as just one community–fit into two thousand years of worshiping Christ and celebrating redemption. We also have committed to taking that tradition into our lives and living inside it. For this reason, we commission musicians to set the liturgy to music. Whether it be jazz, alt-country, 60s pop, or soul, our services are continually re-imagining the ways in which the ancient words of our liturgy can work in our lives.”

In this class, we will hear from church leaders and composers about the ministry values and priorities of Mercy Seat, how they engage with local artists, and learn several of the liturgies, including:

  • Is This the Feast of Victory? – John Hermanson
  • Misneach Mass – Kathleen Durbin
  • The Good News Bad News Mass – Scott Munson
  • Brandywine Mass – Wes Burdine

Class will be offered on June 24, 1:00 – 4:00, at Grace Center. All four composers will be present to lead their liturgies.

Learn More

Mary PreusThursday, June 23, we will once again be offering Leading Congregational Singing. Our phenomenal teachers Jay Beech, Chad Winterfeldt, and Mary Preus, will share values and techniques that are essential to good song leading with the voice, piano and organ, and a worship band

Class will be held 9:00 – 4:00 at Westwood Lutheran Church. Lunch will be included!

Learn More

Next week’s class schedule is still open for registration!

Worship 101 Leading Congregational Singing Liturgies of Mercy Seat Finale Music Notation
for Worship
June 20-22 June 23 June 24 June 25