Coming up…

Will is playing his first wedding next month. His dad is playing trumpet. Two of his teachers are getting married, and they asked him to do the honors. I was really touched that they would ask!

Meanwhile, he is practicing for his graduation recital on May 10 at St. Joseph Chapel and the concert he is most excited about, June 10 at 7:30 Gesu Church on the Schantz organ. It’s free, so if anybody in the Milwaukee area wants to hear some wonderful music on the evening of June 10, come on down. He’s playing Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E Minor, Meditation from Suite Medievale by Langlais, Vierne’s complete Second Symphony with a last movement that will raise the roof on old Gesu, and some beautiful hymn arrangements by Paul Manz, among other pieces.

He is concluding with Toccata Festiva by Richard Purvis, the very first piece he encountered at Gesu at four months of age, as played by his very first mentor, John Weissrock. Hearing that one at Gesu will be emotional for me and Tom both as we remember that day so well when he was carried up into the loft to hear John play it. With Will leaving for college in August, it’s kind of a demarcation concert of the end of us doing our primary parental job. Get me the tissue box! (I was folding his school uniform shirt this weekend out of the dryer and got all sniffy. Oh dear.) Six weeks left of high school. Where does it all go?

Here is J.S. Bach’s majestic Prelude and Fugue in E Minor that Will is going to be playing at Gesu. I hope you enjoy it!

 

Abba, Father

Translation from the Dutch lyrics.

Abba, Father, You alone,
I belong to You.
You only have searched my heart,
You belong to it.
Let my heart be still fervent,
You never leave alone.
Abba, Father, You alone,
I belong to You.

Abba, Father, let me be
Yours alone.
That my will forever be
Your own.
Never let my heart grow cold.
Never let me go.
Abba, Father, let me be
Yours alone.

Abba, Father, let me be
Yours and Yours alone.
May my will forever be evermore Your own.
Never let my heart grow cold.
Never let me go.
Abba, Father, let me be Yours
and Yours alone.

Lipinski Strad Recovered!

I blogged back in 2008 about getting to hear the Lipinski Stradivarius at its unveiling here in Milwaukee. The violin was stolen from MSO Concertmaster Frank Almond a week ago when Almond was attacked after a concert at Wisconsin Lutheran College. Great news this morning that the violin has been recovered and suspects arrested. Hopefully, Milwaukee will soon enjoy the voice of this incredible instrument again soon. Good job, Milwaukee Police!

 

O Rest in the Lord – by Mendelssohn

Scripture put to music that supports and lifts the text is as beautiful as it gets, because it is truth. Here is one aria from Elijah that has meant a lot to me through the years. It is taken from Psalm 37.

Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. ~ Psalm 37:3-7

A Little Thunder From Vierne

Will is preparing for three organ auditions at three different schools in the next few weeks. He wrote some things for recently for school about why organ was such a passion in his life, and I thought I would share it.

stroberts1I began piano and violin lessons at age five, percussion when I was twelve, and finally organ before my freshman year of high school. I have spent hours daily practicing one instrument or another for almost 10 years now. I didn’t particularly enjoy the piano, violin or percussion, but when I began playing the organ, I was instantly hooked. In fact, I was so enthralled with it that I quit both violin and percussion soon after, so I could give more time to my new favorite instrument. 3 ½ years later, my passion for the organ has only grown.
 
Thanks to my background in piano, the learning curve into the organ was not difficult. My teacher, Sister Mary Jane Wagner, is an excellent organist who studied in Europe with some of the world’s greatest organ names, including Flor Peeters and Jean Langlais. In my early days of playing, she provided me a solid technical foundation by demanding excellence in rhythm, articulation, and musical details. She never allowed sloppiness or shortcuts in fingering or pedaling—her attention to detail allowed me to progress very quickly into more difficult repertoire, and instilled in me a clean, exciting style of playing.
 
After only a year of lessons, I was presented with my first performing opportunities. Sister Mary Jane had me play several pieces at a weekly concert in October 2011. This performance taught me many lessons about mental preparation for playing—I learned (the hard way) that forgetting to change from dress shoes to organ shoes can lead to trouble in playing the pedals. In January 2012, I also played a joint concert with Mr. John Weissrock at Gesu Parish—performing on the 115 rank Schantz organ, one of the finest in the Midwest. It was a truly memorable experience.
 
In January of 2012, Sister Mary Jane told me about a position at a local Lutheran Church—I played about 36 Sunday morning services there throughout 2012, experience that truly transformed my playing. Suddenly, I was forced to have new preludes, postludes, offering pieces, liturgy and hymns ready every week. I became adept at mastering pieces quickly, accompanying a congregation, and acting in a professional manner throughout that year of habitual performance.
 
In March of 2013, I participated in the American Guild of Organists’ RCYO Competition.willsenior14 It was my first experience playing in competition, and it was incredibly good for me. I had to make appropriate registrations for my pieces on an unfamiliar organ in a limited amount of time, and be ready to perform after only a few hours of preparation on that organ. Although I finished 3rd of the 3 contestants, I got high scores from the 3 judges in the competition, and great insights from all of them.
 
To me, there is nothing quite as exhilarating, satisfying, or profoundly communicative as playing the pipe organ. From the moment I first played an organ, I knew it was the instrument my soul most resonated with—that it reflected who I am better than anything else.”
 
~Will Schlueter
 
Here’s a little clip of Will at Gesu Parish this last week playing a movement of  Louis Vierne’s First Symphony, a piece he is playing for auditions. The clip is only three minutes, but it expresses the full power and excitement of the instrument Will loves!


Old Hundredth

Of the 23 years of Christian radio programming I did, one of the favorite programs that sticks out in my mind was the interview I conducted with one of the editors of the Trinity Psalter, a book of metrical Psalms with accompanying CD’s by the Scottish Festival Choir.

The history of Psalm singing obviously goes thousands of years back in history, but Psalm singing was also a significant part of Christian worship until the 20th century did its damage. The singing of metrical Psalms has been an historic part of Reformed worship, while Lutheran worship tends to use Psalm chant in the liturgy. Whatever the musical settings, Psalm singing incorporates the inspired Word of God into public worship.

Younger generations are often clueless about hymn singing, many believing that gospel songs are actually hymns, and even those are fading in favor of contemporary choruses, or in the worst cases, secular rock songs. (I’m not kidding about that.) But if hymns are now largely unknown to large swathes of the Protestant world, Psalm singing is even less familiar. Old Hundredth, as it was called, used to be a staple in Christian worship, shortened to what some call the Doxology, and then largely forgotten.

I came across this gorgeous rendition of Old Hundredth (the metrical form of Psalm 100.) The music may be at Westminster Abbey in this particular clip, but as one musician put it at a Psalm workshop I attended, metrical Psalms can be sung with a simple piano or guitar, and Old Hundredth certainly used to be sung out in humble little churches as well as big churches all over the West.

Here are the words from the Psalter, sung by those whose trust is in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Psalm is ended, as always, with a metrical form of the ancient Greek words of the Gloria Patri.

All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell;
Come ye before Him and rejoice.

The Lord, ye know, is God indeed;
Without our aid He did us make;
We are His folk, He doth us feed,
And for His sheep He doth us take.

O enter then His gates with praise;
Approach with joy His courts unto;
Praise, laud, and bless His Name always,
For it is seemly so to do.

For why? the Lord our God is good;
His mercy is for ever sure;
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.

To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
The God Whom Heaven and earth adore,
From men and from the angel host
Be praise and glory evermore.

Amen.

Broken Places, New Again

There’s a story behind me posting this video clip below. A couple of years ago, I was in a very discouraged place. A number of things had happened to our family in a short space of time that shattered much around us that we valued. I often felt that God was silent.

One night I was watching hymns on YouTube and came across this clip. Previously, I have found such strength in hymns and songs of faith, and that night was no different. The words of the song below were:

Be still for the presence of the Lord
The Holy One is here
Come bow before Him now
With reverence and fear
In Him no sin is found
We stand on holy ground
Be still for the presence of the Lord
The Holy One is here

Be still for the glory of the Lord
Is shining all around
He burns with holy fire
With splendor He is crowned
How awesome is the sight
Our radiant King of light
Be still for the glory of the Lord
Is shining all around

Be still for the power of the Lord
Is moving in this place
He comes to cleanse and heal
To minister His grace
No work too hard for Him
In faith receive from Him
Be still for the power of the Lord
Is moving in this place

The singer, Aled Jones, in the early part of the video is standing in a restored church, but as the video goes along, suddenly it shows a clip of him in the same place, several years earlier, when that abbey was an abandoned shell. It was such a broken down place that the windows were shattered, the roof was open to the elements and the interior ruined. When the dove flies upward, you see the results of the restoration of that same abbey. The broken windows are whole again. The roof is repaired, the interior beautiful once again.

While watching this video that night, it was impressed strongly on my mind, “That’s you, Ingrid. You’re broken down with all that has happened and the pain you’ve gone through. But God’s presence within restores and rebuilds. Your “windows” may be shattered, God will make new and better ones. Your “roof” is in disrepair, God will put a better one on. The interior which lies in ruins will be restored. God will do it.”

Despite times where evidence looks to the contrary, that is God’s specialty—restoring what looks like total ruination in us. He does it His way, and in His time. We can’t tell Him how to do it. It’s His work. It takes time. Like all restoration projects, it is not accomplished overnight. But in quiet hope and patience, with faith in the master Architect and Chief Contractor, the work is accomplished in our souls.

So this video is special to me. I want to share it again here at the Hope Blog.

“…Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27