Conference Schedule

Sing! 500 years of Faith, Reform and Liberation

with evening concert by the National Lutheran Choir

Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017

9 - 10 a.m. | Registration in the Anderson University Center Upper Lobby

From the outset of Martin Luther’s Reform 500 years ago, Lutherans have sung. Through singing in congregations and choirs, the theology of Luther was brought into the hearts and practices of the people. Garrison Keillor popularized “Singing with the Lutherans” on A Prairie Home Companion over the last decades but, in many forms, Protestants have raised voices of protest and faith for hundreds of years.

For music to be “Lutheran” the music is to be eclectic, as it has always been. From the earliest accounts in Hebrew Scriptures, to the Psalter, to the stories of Jesus and the disciples, and continuing throughout history, the People of God have sung.  Each era of time, each place on earth, has left a remnant of song in the sung repertoire of the church, a remnant which provides a glimpse into the practice and theology of each era and place. The Reformation initiated by Martin Luther marked a new direction in the church’s song, spurring a new wave of creativity that continues today across the whole church. What makes what the church sings “Lutheran”? What does it mean to carry on the tradition of Lutheran music in the church?


Contact Dr. Marit Trelstad at or Cynthia Givens, Administrative Assistant to the Humanities Division at

Can't make it?

If you cannot make this exciting day of Reformation events, please know that we have many other anniversary events throughout Fall 2017. Come join us at PLU this fall to celebrate 500 years of the Lutheran Tradition.

45 minutes of celebrating the Lutheran singing tradition, lead by the Choir of the West, brass, piano, and the mighty Gottfried and Mary Fuchs organ in Lagerquist Concert Hall in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center on the Pacific Lutheran University campus.

12 - 1:30 p.m. | Lunch Break

Lutheran college and university choral programs have had a large impact on the development of choral music in America. This presentation will highlight the history and major figures of this great hallmark of Lutheran higher education.

In African American Sacred Song, the human body represents the rhythm, the soul, the melodic range and the spirit articulates meter and time. For African American Christians, this holistic way of experiencing and creating music is a means of serving and enjoining oneself with Jesus Christ. The awareness of sacrificing the body in Christian worship can be connected to the slave trade history. Giving over one’s body to God in the worship gathering was a not only a response to fighting against the physicality of enslavement and oppression, but moreover, a way of rising above the atrocities and immersing oneself in spirituality. In the worship experience, there is practice of solidarity for God’s people when they become enjoined physically through singing and dancing. During the slave trade African bodies were not given, they were stolen and broken. Out of these black broken bodies arose songs of long-suffering, lament, and liberation.

3:45 - 4:45 p.m. | Joint Choir Rehearsal of the PLU Choir of the West and The National Lutheran Choir | Lagerquist Concert Hall | Open to all conference participants

Conference Participants are welcome to join PLU’s Choir of the West and The National Lutheran Choir for their Joint Rehearsal where we will be allowed to watch the everyday life and work of the choirs as they embody the conference theme. As a part of the rehearsal, we will also be the first to hear some collaborative work the choirs are planning.

4:45 p.m. | Conference Concludes
5 - 7 p.m. | Dinner Break

Evening Concert

7:30 p.m. | Lagerquist Concert Hall

A separate, but related, event takes place in the evening with a performance by the National Lutheran Choir (Minneapolis/St.Paul). PLU is delighted to welcome this internationally recognized and distinguished choir and its Director, Dr. David Cherwien. This is their first West Coast tour, which begins with their performance at PLU. Dr. Cherwien has chosen the theme Una Sancta, recognizing the ancient roots of the Lutheran Reformation while offering a diverse array of contemporary choral compositions. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in Lagerquist Concert Hall in the Russell Music Center.

While the concert is also free and open to the public, tickets to the concert must be picked up in advance at the PLU Concierge Desk in the Anderson University Center. There is a maximum of 10 tickets/per person. We are unable to take telephone reservations and hold tickets at the door. Tickets will be available for pick up on Monday, Sept.11, on a first-come, first served basis. Dr. Samuel Torvend is coordinating details and answering questions concerning the Choir concert (; Cynthia Givens, Administrative Assistant to the Humanities Division also may be able to answer your questions about the conference or the concert (