Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Metro Lutheran’s Hymn Festival planned

Members of the mass choir prepared for the 2011 Metro Lutheran Hymn Festival at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Minneapolis. Metro Lutheran photo: Bob Hulteen

Cantor Paul Manz is recognized as having re-ignited the interest in church hymn festivals. He initiated a Palm Sunday Hymn Festival when he was organist at Mount Olive Lutheran Church (ELCA), in Minneapolis.

Metro Lutheran will once again honor Manz’ tradition at Mount Olive with a hymn festival. This year’s gathering, however, will occur on May 20.

“Paul Manz wanted to re-awaken ‘the People’s Song,’ as he called it, through the singing of traditional hymns in an exciting way,” explained the Rev. Michael Edwins, Metro Lutheran board member and chair of the committee with oversight of the Hymn Festival. “Like all festivals, the Hymn Festival is elaborate, fancy, and fun; it has new and old.” He added, “Of course, all hymns were once new to us.”

Mount Olive’s cantor David Cherwien is once again putting together a program that will include organ accompaniment, but also instrumental music by alums of the Lutheran Summer Music Program.

“Susan Palo Cherwien provides ‘The Word’ for the hymn festival,” Edwins explained. “She brings a poetic introduction for each hymn which provides deeper insight, focusing us on the words of the hymns.”

David Cherwien then provides improvisational introductions that further focus festival participants on the tune, and the hymn itself, according to Edwins.

The Metro Lutheran Hymn Festival will begin at 4:00 p.m. on May 20. With about seven hymns, the program will last a little more than an hour.

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