Music at United Lutheran Church

ULC's pipe organThe musical ministry of United Lutheran Church might be termed passionately convergent. Our vocal and instrumental music of worship, prayer, praise, and petition comes from many different times and places and aims to include the musical tastes and preferences of all sorts of people. Our hymns come from LBW, With One Voice, Gather, and other hymnals. We use many of the resources from the ELCA renewal projects of the past few years. Our liturgy music changes with the seasons and includes settings like "Tree of Life," "Now the Feast and Celebration," and others.

There is a variety of music at every service: the 8:30 service leans towards the contemporary while the 11:00 is somewhat more traditional. Many members of the congregation participate in the music: there are hymns and liturgy for congregational singing, and usually some hymnody for singing in harmony. The choir is open to all adult members of the church, varies from 7 to 20 singers, and sings from September through May (at 8:30 on the first and third Sundays of the month, and at 11:00 on the second and fourth Sundays). The choir assists with all the congregational singing and presents a wide variety of special music of all styles.

In the sanctuary there is a fine Baroque-style tracker action pipe organ, 8 ranks on one manual and pedal, the Opus #1 of Kenneth Coulter. There is also a fine 7-foot Steinway grand piano. Both instruments are used extensively in the services. Often there are other instruments participating: guitars, flute, trumpet, violin, viola, horn, and percussion. From time to time guest artist musicians join us, singers and instrumentalists.

In addition to traditional and contemporary music from many times and places, there is considerable original music. Music director Philip Bayles and Pastor Tom Dodd have written a number of worship pieces in a collection called "In The Year Of Our Lord" which are used in services. Bayles and congregation translator Kathy Saranpa are working on a collection of gently and reverently updated versions of Luther/Bach chorales called the "Bring Back Bach" project. By aiming for texts that are vivid and contemporary, and making the musical demands reasonable for a modern congregation, we participate from time to time in presenting fresh views of the ideas of these two great leaders of our tradition.

United is blessed with a creative, articulate, opinionated congregation, with a wide variety of musical tastes and preferences. Pastor Tom Dodd, Music Director Philip Bayles, and the active Worship and Music Committee, with regular input from the congregation, select and create a wide variety of music for worship.