Michigan Lutheran Seminary – Concert Review
The Michigan Lutheran Seminary Choir performed at Messiah Lutheran Church in South Windsor, CT on April 16 at 7:00 PM.
Thirty High School teens and two adult leaders drove in a bus, overnight, from Saginaw MI to South Windsor, CT, some 700 to 800 miles and 14 hours on the road; many of them sleeping the best they could on the floor of the bus.
There’s something about seeing this age group, traveling this distance, and singing hymns that reminds one that there is still a lot of good in this world.
The sound that filled our small sanctuary that evening was beyond description; so I will simply mention a few of my favorites and offer a few observations that I found to be noteworthy.
The choir opened up the evening with “God’s Word is Our Great Heritage” which seems to be the credo for the entire Seminary and whose lyrics add support to their existence. Shortly thereafter, the choir sang a piece titled “At the Name of Jesus” accompanied by Hans Thomford on the organ and I could not help but be inspired by their vocal dynamics and I knew then and there that the night was going to be special with the resounding chorus of amens contained in this piece. Another favorite of mine was a Bach arrangement called “Crucifixus”, accompanied by Catherine Webber on the keys and sung in English. The layered singing in this piece was particularly impressive.
My favorite song of the evening was “the Power of the Cross” by the Celtic songwriting team of Stuart Townend and Keith Getty. This was accompanied by Prof. Leonard A. Proeber on the keys and the pristine vocals and incredible lyrics brought the story of Christ’s sacrifice to life for me that evening.
Another favorite of mine was a piece called “Then Will the Very Rocks Cry Out” by Mark Hayes. This was a lively piece and what I found to be interesting was how the singers were taking a subtle hand motion from their leader Prof. Proeber and amplifying it into a massive, cohesive, swaying back-and-forth motion that echoed the groove of the piece and drew me into the spirit of the song.
As the choir sang “Jesus Loves Me”, I could not help but notice the genuine contagious smiles on their faces and it reminded me that in worship, we never get to see each others expressions as we sing. It was a wonderful site to behold and somehow they also worked a resounding “YES” into this classic hymn as well.
During a spiritual song titled “You Can Tell the World about This”, I was moved by the repeated lyric “You Can Tell, You Can Tell, You Can Tell…” and by the phenomenal solo performance added by Catherine Webber.
As a musician, I took special note at how one student accompanied everyone who took turns at either the keys or the organ and tapped out the tempo on each instrument to help the musicians keep time. She was their human metronome and helped to hold the music together.
Finally, I must not forget the guitarist; Evan Lehr who accompanied a hymn titled “O Thou in Whose Presence”, unplugged and with a beautiful maple-colored Seagull guitar. Nice job!
In total, it was a wonderful and worshipful evening and the perfect event to kick off our Holy Week observations. Hosting this group is a very special treat not only musically but it also benefits the worship life of the congregation and these kids serve as excellent role models to your congregation’s children as well. I still have fond memories from the past when we have hosted this choir and have taken a few of these students into our house where we have had a better chance to get to know them and see them interact with our own families. They are a blessing to our Synod and our churches and I thank them for all the time and energy that goes into the preparation and delivery of each concert.