Early Mother’s Day Joy

Son Will (20) gave me an early Mother’s Day gift and invited me  along with him to Gesu Church downtown where he had a practice scheduled. Knowing my love of the old hymns and gospel songs, he played several for me. I can’t add much, because these old hymn tunes say it all to those who love them. One of my all time favorites is, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” which he played for me. I hope is blesses you, and if you know it, sing along.  Here are the words.

(Note: Another couple of hymns I will post in the comment section.)

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Refrain

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

A Little Concert Excerpt

Will’s  long awaited Gesu Church concert was on the evening of June 14. He will be a junior at Wheaton College Conservatory in the fall. He auditioned for Eastman School of Music after spending three days in New York this spring, and was accepted, which is a great honor for him!  He has, however, chosen to return to Wheaton, a place he really loves, and we support him  in this. God is in all these details, and we have encouraged Will to seek the Lord in all his decisions about the future.

The video starts off rather rocky as Will points audience members to the program notes he wrote about the piece.  It gets stable quickly when he sits down to play.

The piece by Cesar Franck, Piece Heroique, builds and builds with that theme you hear at the beginning, ending in a powerful crescendo. The video doesn’t do justice to the sound of that organ in the acoustics of the church. It is an exciting piece of music and an exciting organ to hear.

I am sorry the next piece, a great contrast to the first, was cut off, but the camera ran out of space! Some day, we will manage to get someone to help professionally record Will’s concerts on video. Fortunately, the audio was captured on some good microphones, so we’re glad for that. When so much work goes in, it’s worth keeping.

There was a great turnout for the concert, and Tom was surprised by a friend who goes back all the way to high school band days, a fellow trumpet player. Additionally, Tom’s boss and department supervisor came.  That made the evening even more special! Also, a reader of this blog turned out with her husband. That was great!  Will was assisted by his good organ friend, Ryan Mueller, who met Will through this blog. Ryan works on these huge organs for a company that repairs and voices them.  We are looking forward to hearing Ryan play at Gesu next month! His concert is Tuesday, July 12, 2016 at 7:30pm.

These young men are a blessing from the Lord who gave us the priceless gift of music.

 

 

Eternity in Sound – A Joyful Anniversary Concert Announcement

Willgesuorgan1Our son, Will, the organist of the family, turned 20 years old yesterday. He is a young man who is focused on music as an organ student at Wheaton College Conservatory where he will be a Junior this fall. I am passing on this information to anyone locally who would like to attend a free concert of some of the world’s great organ music. Will writes:

“It was twenty years ago this June that, as a newborn, I heard the pipe organ at Gesu Church for the first time. Ever since then, Gesu’s music ministry has had a substantial impact on my life, including inspiring me to become an organist. That’s why I am so honored to perform at Gesu on June 14, in celebration of five years of their marvelous “new” organ– which contains 6,800 pipes and is the largest in Wisconsin. I hope to see everyone there!”

The date is June 14, 2016 at 7:30pm at Gesu Church in downtown Milwaukee. The world is a troubled and dark place, and there is a loss of hope everywhere.  In the midst of this, music is the bursting into sound of something eternal, it has been said. Depending on the music, you either catch a glimpse of an eternal hell or the eternal beauty of our God and his majesty. Taking an hour out to listen to the power and also the quiet beauty, the whole range of this orchestra within one instrument, is good medicine in these times. Thank you, Will, for the music. To God be the Glory.

Clips from Will at his recent St. John Cantius Church in Chicago and Wheaton College.

willconcert2016

Our Son Will – Making A Joyful Noise on the Pipe Organ!

Our son, Will Schlueter, is playing an organ recital in Chicago at St. John Cantius church this Sunday at 3pm. Here is his program.

1) Piece Heroique- C. Franck
2) Trio Sonata 6- Moevement 1. Vivace -J.S. Bach
3) Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue- J.S. Bach
4) Variations on Old Hundreth- Denis Bedard
5) Romance from Symphony #4- Louis Vierne
6) Allegro from Symphony #6- C.M. Widor

About the organist: Will Schlueter is a sophomore at Wheaton College, where he studies organ performance with Dr. Edward Zimmerman. A Wisconsin native, Will has had a passion for the pipe organ since he was very young, and began lessons with Sr. Mary Jane Wagner (S.S.S.F) in 2011. Since then he has performed many times at the finest venues in the Milwaukee area, including St. Joseph’s Chapel, St. John’s Cathedral, and Gesu Church, home of the largest organ in Wisconsin. He particularly enjoys liturgical music, and has played for many  services over the last five years, in addition to participating in the 2013 AGO Competition for Young Organists. Will believes that music is a form of prayer, and strives to share the “joy of the Lord” (Psalm 98) through the wonderful gift of the pipe organ.

You can get more information here about the recital.

 

There’s Still Music

Our son, Will, 19,  and assistant at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas this last week warming up before the concert with the Wheaton College Men’s Glee Club. It’s an increasingly ugly culture, but these young people remind us that there is still music left.

WillWheatonGleeTour

 

Resurrection!

Willgesuorgan1Our 19-year-old son, Will,  is preparing some large pieces for a concert in June. The recorded clip is the tail end of his concert “ender.” He explained what he was playing.

“It’s the last movement of a symphony improvisation by Marcel Dupre on Christ’s passion….Movement no. 4 Resurrection. The melody is a chant. Here is the text,” he wrote.

Prostrate I adore Thee, Deity unseen, Who Thy glory hidest ‘neath these shadows mean;

Lo, to Thee surrendered, my whole heart is bowed, Tranced as it beholds Thee, shrined within the cloud.

Taste, and touch, and vision, to discern Thee fail;

Faith, that comes by hearing, pierces through the veil. I believe whate’er the Son of God hath told; What the Truth hath spoken, that for truth I hold.

On the Cross lay hidden but thy Deity, Here is hidden also Thy Humanity: But in both believing and confessing, Lord, Ask I what the dying thief of Thee implored.

Thy dread wounds, like Thomas, though I cannot see, His be my confession, Lord and God, of Thee, Make my faith unfeigned ever-more increase, Give me hope unfading, love that cannot cease.

O memorial wondrous of the Lord’s own death; Living Bread, that giveth all Thy creatures breath, Grant my spirit ever by Thy life may live, To my taste Thy sweetness never-failing give.

Pelican of mercy, Jesus, Lord and God, Cleanse me, wretched sinner, in Thy Precious Blood: Blood where one drop for human-kind outpoured Might from all transgression have the world restored.

Jesus, whom now veiled, I by faith descry, What my soul doth thirst for, do not, Lord, deny, That thy face unveiled, I at last may see, With the blissful vision blest, my God, of Thee.

The finale of this movement conveys the power of the Resurrected Christ. Not a weak, simpering, impotent false Jesus, but the risen LORD Jesus Christ, who vanquished death, ascended to heaven and sits at God’s right hand in all power and authority.

Music carries a message of some kind, with or without words. The power of the pipe organ carries the message that the chant confesses. To this message, I say Amen and Amen!

(Will is recording the whole piece tomorrow. But I thought I would share this little clip.)

October Fireside Notes

The smoke ascends to heaven as lightly
From a cottage hearth as from the haughty
Palace. He whose soul ponders this true
Equality may wall the fields of earth
With gratitude and hope.

~ Wordsworth, The Excursion

Oh, happy hearthstone! Oh, hour
thrice blest
Where peace is the handmaid, and
love is the guest.

~ Rose Elliot Smith

It was such a lovely weekend. The best weekends of all, for me, are spent pottering around the house, folding baskets of warm clothes  from the dryer, ironing Emmy’s school uniform blouses, shopping for groceries and spending evenings with Tom. Especially the evenings, talking with my husband.

Tom has a gap in music jobs right now, and the plus side is that he is able to do his own pottering around without the tyranny of an evening schedule. He painted the front hall this weekend. Only a couple  more rooms to go, and painting will be done. He takes his time, but when he is done, it is beautiful to see. He has an eye for the smallest detail.

It was a beautiful day yesterday. I took the longest walk yet all by myself when Tom and Emmy were gone for a while.  I ended up in the little German cemetery again. The play of light on the old stones and the seasonal changes to the trees make it the most peaceful place to wander around. Farther down the street there is a separate church cemetery with a black wrought iron fence surrounding it. The border of red Maple trees on the south end is so breathtakingly beautiful when the sun shines on them that it nearly takes my breath away. Em and I were driving home from school the other day, and the sun made the trees just glorious. “Praise you, God!” was all I could say. Em heard me, and now when she sees the trees, (they are losing the leaves but still have some of the beauties left hanging on them), she says the same thing from the back seat. “Praise you, God!” How wonderful that God left us so much beauty in a world that sin has so badly damaged.

My daughter-in-law, Laura, has been such a blessing and in many different ways. She is expecting our third grandbaby early next year, but took time to help alter Emmy’s frontier girl costume for school. The post office sorting machine ruined the first one we ordered, and the only one left was two sizes too big. Laura got out her sewing machine and in no time, she had it altered down to Emmy’s size. Emmy is looking forward to the Harvest Hoedown at school with a Davy Crockett theme. I’m grateful for Laura’s skill with sewing and willingness to help.

Thanksgiving is coming quickly. I heard about a looming pumpkin shortage, so I went and got some canned pumpkin just to make sure we won’t be without pie making material. Will is our biggest pumpkin pie fan, and he will be hoping for some. Speaking of Will, here he is on the organ with the Wheaton College Men’s Glee Club at their homecoming concert a few days ago. Jubilate Deo means, “Be joyful (jubilant) in the Lord!” (Psalm 100)

Timeless Praise

Six years ago, I played an organ video for Will. It was one of my favorite hymns of all time, Holy God We Praise Thy Name. The organist in the video was Stephen Tharp, one of the world’s leading organists, who had recorded that hymn at his church  in New York. Will was 13 at the time, and was two years away from even starting organ lessons.

(Parenthetically, Will later got to meet Mr. Tharp when he came to perform on the Schantz pipe organ at Gesu Church in Milwaukee. Tom and Will’s first and beloved organ mentor, John Weissrock, posed for a photo after the concert.)

Fast forward to this weekend, and Will is playing the pipe organ at the 150th anniversary for a church. One of the hymns he is playing with the congregation, is this same one, Holy God We Praise Thy Name. His father is accompanying the hymn also with a brass quintet. The roof will be lifted with the beautiful sound of brass, organ and voices.

It goes without saying that the king of instruments, the pipe organ, is the fitting choice for accompanying this great hymn of praise. The organist and music express the words and meaning of the hymn that, in a very clear, doctrinal and confessional way, points to our Heavenly Father, who is worthy of all praise. Here is the full text of the hymn, and below that, the video!

Holy God, we praise Thy Name;
Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
All on earth Thy scepter claim,
All in Heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain,
Everlasting is Thy reign.

Hark! the loud celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising,
Cherubim and seraphim,
In unceasing chorus praising;
Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord.

Lo! the apostolic train
Join the sacred Name to hallow;
Prophets swell the loud refrain,
And the white robed martyrs follow;
And from morn to set of sun,
Through the Church the song goes on.

Holy Father, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit, Three we name Thee;
While in essence only One,
Undivided God we claim Thee;
And adoring bend the knee,
While we own the mystery.

Thou art King of glory, Christ:
Son of God, yet born of Mary;
For us sinners sacrificed,
And to death a tributary:
First to break the bars of death,
Thou has opened Heaven to faith.

From Thy high celestial home,
Judge of all, again returning,
We believe that Thou shalt come
In the dreaded doomsday morning;
When Thy voice shall shake the earth,
And the startled dead come forth.

Therefore do we pray Thee, Lord:
Help Thy servants whom, redeeming
By Thy precious blood out-poured,
Thou hast saved from Satan’s scheming.
Give to them eternal rest
In the glory of the blest.

Spare Thy people, Lord, we pray,
By a thousand snares surrounded:
Keep us without sin today,
Never let us be confounded.
Lo, I put my trust in Thee;
Never, Lord, abandon me.

A Little Thunder from Will and Widor

This clip is the finale of Will’s concert last week. He said to his dad the other night, “I just love the organ.” You can’t give a passion to a son or daughter. It’s either in them, or it isn’t. The variety of talents God gives children is astonishing. When they develop those gifts, whatever they may be, they point back to the Creator.

You Never Know…

Our 18-year-old son plays Allegro from Symphony No. 2 by Louis Vierne in this video. (The real exciting part starts at 5 minutes in!) You never know what interests your children will have. They are mystery packages. But if you listen to them and watch them carefully, they will often tell you what they want to pursue. Will studied violin and percussion and piano, but at age 15, he became intent on studying pipe organ. After getting blown off by several church organists who were apathetic, we discovered a true teacher as well as performer who had an interest in our son as a student. It went from there. Will is currently a student at Wheaton Conservatory. He is going to be doing another concert in June here in Milwaukee. I will share details later.