The voice of the assembly at worship is the primary musical expression of our congregation. The people who gather for worship give voice to the gospel through songs of prayer, praise, proclamation, and lament, and are strengthened through the gift of music to engage in the mission of Christ of the life of the world.
Cantor Daniel Schwandt has led the music ministry at Augustana since April 2004.
The worshiping assembly that gathers each week at Augustana sings music from all times and places, drawing on the rich traditions of Lutheran music as embodied in our primary denominational worship book Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Song at the 8:15 contemplative Eucharist is often from the “paperless” tradition, and is taught by rote to the assembly throughout the liturgy. Traditional hymns and other responses are also sung. Song at the 10:45 Choral Eucharist is supported by the Cantorei (the adult choir), the organ, and other instrumentalists.
The Cantorei (adult choir) rehearses weekly on Thursday evenings in the choir room from 7:30 to 9:00 PM and is directed by Cantor Schwandt. The choir sings each Sunday from September to June at each Choral Eucharist. Supporting the assembly's song through hymns and liturgical music is the traditional role of the choir in Lutheran liturgy, and at Augustana the Cantorei leads the psalm of the day, the Gospel Acclamation, hymn stanzas, and anthems. At other times, the choir prepares larger works such as cantatas or concerted settings of the Mass.
The Schola Cantorum (singing school) is the choir for children from third through sixth grades and is led by Cantor Schwandt. Rehearsals are Wednesday afternoons during the school year from 4:00 to 4:45 PM in the choir room. The children learn about the liturgy of the church and the rhythms of the church year in addition to growing in musical skill by singing hymns, psalms, anthems, and other liturgical music. They sing at either the 8:15 or the 10:45 liturgies about every third week.
People who play instruments are often used to enhance assembly song or offer music in the liturgy. The congregation makes use of a variety of percussion instruments, a 2006 Yamaha U1 studio piano, a shrudi box, singing bowl, and a 2-octave set of Petit and Fritsen (Dutch) handbells.
Morris J. Niedenthal Memorial Pipe Organ
In August 2009, Augustana commissioned Wahl Organbuilders of Appleton, Wisconsin to craft a new 20-stop mechanical action organ for our worship space, replacing a 5-stop 1968 Holtkamp pipe organ (Op. 1850). Organbuilders Matthew Straughn-Morse, Christoph Wahl, Ronald Wahl, as well as summer intern Bret VanNuland spent approximately 12,000 man-hours completing the design, construction, and installation of Augustana's new organ.
It was dedicated on the Third Sunday of Easter, April 22nd 2012 in memory of the Rev. Dr. Morris J. Niedenthal in thanksgiving and appreciation for Corrine, Simon, and Paula Niedenthal's significant gift toward the new instrument.
Of particular note is that this new instrument includes five sets of pipes from two historic Lyon & Healy pipe organs from Chicago. These instruments were built in Chicago around 1900; one of them located blocks away from Augustana at a church on 40th and Drexel once presided over by a young Leo Sowerby. The reuse of this historic material gives the instrument a unique tonal accent and reflects the congregation's interest in sustainable practices.
Organbuilders Ronald and Christoph Wahl write:
Each manual division is placed in a freestanding casework on either side of the detached, reversed console. The independent pedal stops are split between the two divisions. This design allows efficient layout of the pipework while simultaneously granting the organist easy visual communication with other musicians and all activity in the nave of the church. Perhaps most importantly, the layout results in an instrument that needs a relatively modest amount of space to function well and easily, leaving room for the choir and other instrumentalists in the thriving music ministry.
The specification is created with an ear towards work in hymn leading and choral accompaniment, and with an eye for economy in design wherever possible. Notable features include the presence of copious foundation tone, including a full-length 16' open stop. In addition, an upper manual string chorus, the generous number of couplers and Pedal transmissions, and the placement of the 16' Pedal Fagotto under expression combine to make an instrument of unique expressive potential.
|Great — Manual I||Swell — Manual II||Pedal|
2 2/3' Quint
1 3/5' Tierce
Mixture (4 ranks)
Swell to Great 16'
Swell to Great
4' Harmonic Flute
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Swell to Pedal 4'
|Cimbalstern (Rotating bell-star)|
Multi-level combination action
Full compliment of pistons, registrational aides, and sequencer
|Fully mechanical key action and electric stop action|
Key compass: 61/30
Concave and parallel pedalboard with radiating sharps
20 stops, 23 ranks, 1330 pipes
* Stops in italics are transmitted from the manual divisions to the pedal division