Inspiring the next generation of church musicians—that’s one goal for this summer’s worship conferences, and you can help!
The WELS National Worship Conference takes place in Kenosha, Wis., June 13-16. It features a select Children’s Choir of 80 voices conducted by Kurt Cereske, associate conductor for the National Children’s Choir (Los Angeles and New York City) and former director of music at St. Paul’s First Lutheran in North Hollywood, Calif.
A High School Honor Choir of 120 voices from all over the United States and Canada is directed by Jonathan Laabs, who recently accepted a call to Martin Luther College. He is director of choral arts at Trinity Lutheran in Waukesha, Wis., as well as artistic director of Canticum Novum, a WELS chamber choir.
New this year is a second, smaller conference in Irvine, Calif., June 27-30 featuring smaller versions of both the Children’s Choir and Honor Choir. Both conferences are part of WELS’ celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
These worship conferences are powerful for inspiring the next generation of church musicians. After singing in the 2008 Honor Choir, Tyler Weinrich changed his college plans and enrolled at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn. Now Weinrich is a third grade teacher and school music director, helping to train and inspire the children under his care. He says about his worship conference experience:
I never knew that spending a few days with my peers and around God’s Word in song would have made such a powerful impact on my life. I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my career, but God had different plans for me. Being in the Honor Choir inspired me to pursue a profession in God’s ministry. The experiences of being a teacher and choir director have brought me great joy and fulfillment. I thank God for the Worship Conference, which he used to guide me into a life of service to him!
The inspirational impact is not just for children and teens. Cereske will present the workshop, “Beautiful Sound from Average Children,” designed to help those who direct our Lutheran elementary school children. Participants will benefit from the excellent models of singing that are possible with children and teens (as demonstrated in the March WELS Connection). Lay leaders also attend the conferences. Their impressions can help them to encourage pursuit of excellence in their churches back home.
Would you make a gift to help encourage young men and women in their musical development? We want to make it affordable for 250 children, teens, and other students to participate at the worship conferences by covering at least $80 per student.
Your gift will have an impact even beyond this summer as these young people take their places in our churches and schools to inspire yet another generation of church musicians.
Serving on behalf of you, in Christ,
Pastor Bryan Gerlach
Director, WELS Commission on Worship
P.S. Details about the worship conferences are at wels.net/national-worship-conference.