More than 2,600 WELS members and their guests–including several hundred from Minnesota—converged on Milwaukee for the fourth annual WELS Night at Miller Park. “Since the Brewers were playing the Minnesota Twins, it seemed only fitting to showcase Martin Luther College (MLC), the WELS college of ministerial education located in New Ulm, Minn., during the pregame festivities,” says Mr. Lee Hitter, WELS director of communications.
MLC Vice President Steve Thiesfeldt, wearing an MLC Knights baseball uniform, threw a looping curve-ball for his ceremonial first pitch. “The opportunity to interact with family, friends, and WELS members before, during, and after the game was something I’ll never forget,” says Thiesfeldt. “Even conversations with strangers provided a chance to share who we are as a church body. I hope this excellent fellowship and outreach opportunity continues for years to come.”
After Thiesfeldt’s pitch was thrown for a strike, four students from MLC were invited to sing the national anthem. The quartet members of Four Times the Charm—which included Nicolas Gartner, Carl Boeder, Luke Dorn, and Jacob Ungemach—harmonized their beautiful rendition of the anthem before a crowd of 34,000 fans. “I never could have imagined representing such a wonderful school and synod by using my God-given talents in this way. Even days afterward, we’ve been showered with compliments, blessings, and well wishes. Words could never describe how blessed we’ve been through this experience,” says Gartner. The positive reaction to their performance on social media overwhelmed the group. “This was a dream come true for our group. It was just a wonderful night to catch up with other WELS members, enjoy the ballpark experience, and cheer for your favorite team,” says Dorn.
Another highlight of the evening was the more than 1,000 members wearing WELS Night at Miller Park t-shirts. “To see so many members proudly wearing their WELS shirts in the stands was a terrific opportunity to let the people of Milwaukee know and ask about WELS,” says Hitter. “We plan to offer the same royal blue shirt again for next year’s game.”
The Brewers junior announcer for the evening was 10-year-old Noah Bauer, a fifth grade student from Our Redeemer Lutheran in Madison. After his stellar performance on the microphone, he may have a promising future in broadcasting. “I was a little bit nervous about being in front of that many people, but once it got started I was fine. It was definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever had the chance to do,” says Bauer.
The Brewers ended up being the perfect hosts to our Minnesota neighbors, losing to the Twins 7-2.
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WELS churches and schools featured in their local media.