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Luther College to be host of Lutheran Summer Music through 2014

Lutheran Music Program (LMP) recently announced the extension of its partnership with Luther College to host its primary program, the Lutheran Summer Music Academy & Festival (LSM). Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, will be the host site for LSM through 2014.

Luther College was selected after an extensive review process, during which many Luther colleges expressed interest in hosting the next three-year cycle of LSM, according to Beth Burns, LMP executive director. Selection by the LMP 19-member pan-Lutheran board of directors was based on alignment of missions and the suitability of the campus’ facilities to meet the needs of the program.

“We are pleased to enter into this new contract with Luther College,” stated James Hushagen, president of LMP board of directors. “[T]he Luther College campus provides us with our best means to act as responsible stewards of this treasured organization and to best serve young musicians and the church. The Luther Campus is ideally suited to the musical, spiritual, and community needs of our program.”

“Luther College and LSM share a common mission ¬— to nurture and celebrate two hallmarks of the Lutheran faith, that of education and music,” responded Luther College President Richard Torgerson. “This is an exciting partnership and we are delighted LSM has extended their relationships with us through 2014.”

Preparing for a new future

A strategic planning process begun in 2009 brought renewed clarity of mission and an expanded vision for LMP’s future, Burns told Metro Lutheran. At the same time, the board of directors adopted three organizational values: musical excellence, Lutheran faith, and nurturing community.

“These statements not only reflect Lutheran Summer Music,” stated Burns. “They are an invitation for us to look to the future with expanded aspirations. LSM will always be at the heart of our work, but we can and should be doing more to ensure that the historical and living heritage of the church’s music is celebrated and passed on to another generation.”

Under the new strategic plan, LMP has conducted pilot programs with Lutheran Outdoor Ministries, offering middle school choral camps in Minnesota and Washington. The organization also remains committed to its partnership with the Association of Lutheran Older Adults (ALOA) to create intergenerational programs. Hymn Festivals are also developing under the new strategic plan, with recent events and partnerships in New York, Iowa, Oregon, and Texas. Conversations have also begun with Heartwood Center & Retreat (Trego, Wisconsin) and the New Ebenezer Retreat Center (Rincon, Georgia). And, the Young Musicians Partnership, introduced in 2008, now includes more than 88 congregations nationwide who are committed to supporting youth engagement in worship. In 2010, more than 40 percent of the LSM student body came to the program through the Young Musicians Partnership.

The organization also expects to pursue new programmatic activities in the coming years with Lutheran colleges across the country. Concordia University (Irvine, California); Concordia College (Bronxville, New York); Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, Washington); and Luther College are already members of the new Lutheran Collegiate Partnership, a program developed to benefit LSM students and encourage their attendance of Lutheran colleges.

“By expanding our programming,” Burns says, “we fulfill our mission in many meaningful ways. We hope to provide numerous points of entry in order to inspire a new generation of musicians for the church and to keep the rich musical heritage of the church alive. Our partnership with Luther College ensures a sound foundation for our core program and a base upon which we can reach even further.”

Founded in 1981 as an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to training the next generation of musicians for the church, LMP fulfills its mission to transform lives and connect people through faith and music through the month-long LSM festival. LSM fosters musical excellence in a caring community for high school band, orchestra, choir, piano, and pipe organ students. More than 160 high school students from across the country attend the four-week residential training and performance program. LSM encourages students to use music as a catalyst for the exploration of personal faith and creativity.

One of the notable characteristics of LSM has been its status as a program “without walls” moving to nine different colleges over the past 30 years: Augsburg College (Minneapolis); Augustana College (Rock Island, Illinois); Augustana College (Sioux Falls, South Dakota); Gustvaus Adolphus College (St. Peter, Minnesota); Luther College; St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minnesota); Valparaiso University (Valparaiso, Indiana); and Wittenberg College (Springfield, Ohio). In recent years, the program has moved to three0year residencies with each host campus.

The 2012 Lutheran Summer Music Academy & Festival will take place June 24 to July 22 at Luther College. It is open to students of all faiths, but is centered in Lutheran music and liturgical traditions. Applications are still being accepted for the 2011 program, where LMP will celebrate its 30th anniversary. Information about LSM and a complete list of 30th anniversary concerts and events may be found at www.lutheransummermusic.org.

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