Harmonies at the Harbor

It was a great afternoon as hearts and praises soared with voices blending in joyful harmony at the Lutheran World Relief Hymn Festival on Sunday, May 20. The Tour Choir of Concordia College- New York, the Concert Choir of Baltimore Lutheran School and the Jubilate Choir of St. Paul’s Lutheran School sang stirring anthems interspersed with scripture and hymns. The large nave was filled with parishioners from ELCA and LCMS Lutheran congregations across the region, whose voices, along with parents and alumni, joined with the choirs in the hymns. The concert was held at Christ Lutheran Church next door to the Lutheran Center, the site of LWR’s headquarters, at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

The concert was a benefit for LWR, whose mission and ministries were illustrated in a greeting by LWR President John Nunes. Anthems ranged from the Reformation era to contemporary selections, and the hymns carried us across the church year. The wonderful new Ascension hymn “Ascend, O Mighty One on High” was written by Hollis Thoms and Michael Meyer.

No doubt those present would have cited a variety of pieces as their personal highlights, but mine were the rousing and forceful arrangement by Moses Hogan of “Elijah Rock” by the Concordia Choir and Baltimore Lutheran’s Concert Choir’s moving rendition of “Give Me Jesus” arranged by Larry Fleming. When the festival organist Anthony Rispo began the postlude, a Bach sinfonia on the church’s excellent new organ, no one stirred till its conclusion.

The event was sponsored by four local Thrivent Financial for Lutherans chapters, Concordia College, Ms. Amy Crumb, LWR  and Christ Church. Along with many others, it’s an event I hope will be repeated.

Guest Post written by Pastor Ed Whetstone.