2017 National Worship Conference

Conference registration is open!

Help recruit for the Children’s and Honor choirs by sharing this video.


June 13-16, 2017
Carthage College ∗ Kenosha, WI

The regional event in Irvine, California has been cancelled. Please see the Together Newsletter for more information.

Singers and Instrumentalists

Interested in participating in the Festival Choir? Learn more below.

The Children’s Choir and Honor Choir application deadline has been extended to May 3. Read more.

The worship conference offers “something for everyone.” It is not only for pastors and musicians.
Opportunities at the main conference include:

  • 50+ presentations
  • Concerts and recitals
  • Plenary address: “A Reformation Perspective on Worship” by Pastor Michael Schultz, Director of the WELS Hymnal Project
  • 125 voice Festival Choir (with full orchestra) directed by Kermit Moldenhauer and Dale Witte
  • 125 voice high school Honor Choir (with full orchestra) directed by Jon Laabs
  • 65 voice children’s choir directed by Kurt Cereske
  • Applications for Festival Choir and instrumentalists are now available. Applications for Children’s Choir and Honor choir will be available early December
  • Register online before June 8.

The worship conference is an excellent opportunity for inspiration and professional growth. Congregations are encouraged to set aside funds in their budgetary planning so that key people are able to attend.

Kenosha, WI registration options and rates. (Registrations after May 5 will carry an additional $25 fee.)

  • On-campus: air conditioned dorm room $395
  • On-campus: standard dorm room, no AC $360
  • Off-campus: commuters $285

On-campus registration includes all meals, Tues dinner to Friday lunch.
Off-campus registration includes lunches and dinners.

A limited number of air conditioned dorm rooms are available to those who register early.
Since the campus is right on Lake Michigan, evenings tend to cool down nicely.

Full time student rates, available also for those who have just graduated in 2017, are approximately half price.

Highlights from past worship conferences – including presentations, photos, service folders, and audio samples are available on the Worship Resource Center. Professionally recorded musical highlights are available at Northwestern Publishing House.

Check back for more info in the future. We hope you’ll be able to participate. We again expect over 1000 people at the main Carthage site.

Please display a conference poster in your church and school.


Kenosha, WI              June 13-16, Carthage College – main event
Irvine, CA                    June 27-30

The primary reason for the Carthage event being earlier than usual is far less competition for air conditioned dorms, cafeteria, and meeting spaces – especially large spaces. (A recital hall that we used in 2002 and earlier was not available to us in 2014.) Mid June is also likely to be more pleasant weather than mid July!

Print a conference poster to share with your church or school.


The conference will feature five Reformation-themed services which can be adapted for parish use later in the year for celebrations of the 500th anniversary. These services feature newly commissioned texts and music from fifteen composers and poets. The plan for daily worship follows.

Wednesday morning
Opening Service – Reformation Festival featuring the liturgical rite created for the new WELS hymnal (release planned for the early 2020s). The service includes a new a concertato on “A Mighty Fortress” with brass sextet and four percussion instruments.

Wednesday evening
A service of Confession and Absolution – focusing on the principal teachings espoused in the 95 Theses. The Psalmody section features three of Luther’s psalm paraphrases: Psalm 12 (O Lord, Look Down from Heaven), Psalm 124 (If God Had Not Been on Our Side), and Psalm 130 (From Depths of Woe) for congregation, choirs, piano, and other instruments.

Thursday morning
All Saints Day – a reconstructed service based on Luther’s two revisions of the historic Mass, the Formula Missae and the Deutsche Messe. A new hymn focuses on the realities, trials, blessings, and effects of Christian martyrdom in our modern world. The text reflects the spirit of Luther’s first hymn (1523) written in response to the martyrdom of two young confessors in Brussels.

Thursday evening
Ascension Vespers – including Luther’s great musical legacy. One newly composed canticle is based on the Song of Simeon combined with the hymn “Lord, Let at Last Your Angels Come.”

Friday morning
Pentecost – a contemporary service of Word and Prayer with several new settings of Luther hymns, including a new tune and setting of “Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord.”


Festival Choir

A Festival Choir of about 125 voices directed by Dr. Kermit Moldenhauer from Martin Luther College and Mr. Dale Witte from Winnebago Lutheran Academy is being formed to participate in the opening concert for the 2017 National Conference on Worship, Music, and the Arts at Carthage College. The concert will be held on Tuesday, June 13, at 8:00 p.m. in the Carthage College chapel. Those interested in participating may learn more by reading this informational letterApply online.


The Commission on Worship is seeking names of musicians (instrumentalists, organists, pianists, choir directors, vocal soloists, and composers) with advanced training and/or professional experience in music. These musicians may be contacted for WELS worship events and especially for the National Conference on Worship, Music, and the Arts. Thank you for your interest. Applications are no longer being accepted for the upcoming conference, the instrumentalist slots have been filled.


The deadline to apply has been extended to May 3. Apply today!

Honor Choir and Children’s Choir applications are being accepted for the Kenosha conference.

Learn more and download the brochures from the choir page on the worship resource center.


Registration online before June 8. The documents below will assist in the registration process.

The Irvine, California event has been cancelled. Please see the Together newsletter for more details.


An exhibit of work from WELS and ELS visual artists will be shown at the 2017 WELS National Conference on Worship, Music, and the Arts at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI.

Artwork entered in this show will be judged by a panel at the conference, and awards will be given.

Conference participants also have an opportunity to choose their favorite piece.