Saturday, October 3, 2009

WLA Sundays – A "New" Idea

October 4, 2009 marks the beginning of a new idea in WLA Traveling Choir (TC) Sunday performances – the "WLA Sunday". For the past 16 years I have prepared the Traveling Choir to sing six songs in each association congregation service: three before the sermon in place of the Hymn of the Day and three at the end of the service in place of the final hymn. Frankly, there was nothing wrong with that format. I believe everyone enjoyed it. But after meeting this summer with 14 other WELS high school choir directors, I realized that I was not structuring my service like most of the other directors were structuring theirs.

Most of the other WELS Area Lutheran High Schools (ALHS) run a recruitment Sunday when their choir goes out to sing in their association congregations. The congregations see it as a Christian Education Sunday with a specific emphasis on their ALHS. So, after so many years of doing the same thing, I decided it was time to change. Sometimes change is hard but sometimes change is necessary.

So, I bit the bullet and wrote an order of service centered around WLA's 2009-2010 theme passage, Rev. 22:17 "Whoever is thirsty, let him take the free gift of the water of life." The choir's function in the service is not just to present anthems related to the readings, but also to introduce new songs of the liturgy and lead the singing of hymns with descants and varied stanza harmonizations.

Will this be successful? Only time will tell. My biggest challenge was to select all the components of the service and make them fit to one passage, Rev. 22:17. Other challenges are for the choir to not sing as many anthems and to spread out their singing throughout the service where it was liturgically appropriate. Will congregation members be edified by God's Word and song? Will area pastors and organists appreciate having a Sunday off? Will TC get bored by doing the same service 18 times?  Probably!  I'm sure there will be changes to the service almost every time we go out.

If you click on the poster above you will download a PDF file of the bulletin for Oct. 4, 2009 at St. John's, Markesan.  If the pages seem out of order, they are set up in booklet format to be printed back-to-back to make a three page bulletin.  Since this is the first Sunday we are doing this, association pastors are encouraged to look at the service, but don't print it for your congregations until I contact you with the specific bulletin for your congregation's weekend.


  1. Do they tour outside of the local area? Chicago? Minneapolis? Milwaukee? Da UP, eh?

  2. We have toured outside of NE Wisconsin on occasion. We've performed at Carnegie Hall in New York three time and sung for services in the greater Chicago and Milwaukee area. We try to accept as many invitations that fit our schedule, but with a 36 week school year and 18-19 churches to sing in every year, we are pretty busy!