Musical Notes ♫♬ (Archive)

Our Minister of Music can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Musical Notes - 7/15/2018 - A note from Zach Dean

Witnesses to the Gospel,

It has been an absolute joy to serve as your Minister of Music. As my time serving comes to a close, my thoughts are lingering on the past three years.

Yes, it only has been three years since I began my time with you. It feels like much longer — and not in a bad way! It feels as if each of you has been a significant part of my life, and indeed you have been! It is the short time period that makes it a wonder, mainly because this community has taught me so much. Chief among those is something I want to name here: appreciation, and not just appreciation, but what I am going to call “Holy Appreciation.”

Holy Appreciation is much more than just saying “thanks.” It is different than saying “thanks” if someone says “God Bless You” after a sneeze; it is different than thanking someone after they hold a door open for you; it is different than the appreciation offered countless ways that happen each and every day as “thanks” flies out of our mouths so we can be polite. Holy Appreciation is something different: it is a pastor that never fails to lift up those who need recognizing for their work in and for the community. Holy Appreciation is a Church Council that produces signed thank you cards; a note left by musicians after they created music for the community. Holy Appreciation, despite how common it is in this place, is still wholly Holy.

One of the joys of the 9:00 AM service is that, because of the small space in the chapel, I get to interact with everyone on their way out. In those interactions, some people look me in the eye in a moment of Holy Appreciation and thank me for the music that day. My response has always been “thanks for singing along!”

Regardless of whether you have belted every hymn that was chosen for the last three years, or if you have barely whispered the words for fear that the person next to you might hear you sing, you have sung. You have sung because singing in worship is an act of the assembly, and so by nature of you being in the presence of song, you have sung.

And so, for the last time as your Minister of Music: thanks for singing along.

The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you peace. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. Amen. (Words to the choir benediction in today’s service, Peter C. Lutkin)

Until we meet again,
Zachary Dean

Musical Notes - 1/22/2017

You may have noticed new additions to the order of worship today: the addition of a "Hymn of Light" and the time for people to share their self-written devotionals. Because the theme of GA's Capital Campaign is "Shining God's Light...Together As One," I thought it was important to reflect that light in the music we sing. The sum of all the parts of worship is called "liturgy," which, when translated from the Greek, literally means "work of the people." In taking a holistic approach to the work that is worship, I see the various parts of our liturgy — from the hymns, to the prayers, to the readings, sermon, and Eucharist — as being intimately interconnected. Because we added time for various people to share their devotionals regarding the Capital Campaign, it flows from there that we add music that speaks to the theme of the campaign as well. In the coming weeks, as we lead up to the pledge date for the capital campaign, I invite each of you to reflect on the theme of light as we sing about it in our hymns.

— ZD

Musical Notes - 1/15/2017

When asked what the Civil Rights Movement would have been without its songs, New Orleans vocalist Michaela Harrison closed her eyes and shook her head, demonstrating her difficulty even fathoming such a thing. “Ooooh,” she said, “I can’t imagine what the movement would have been without the music. I can’t say that answer because I don’t know. But I don’t think it would have been effective without the music. Because the music is really what mobilized people, united people. It’s what sustained the people. Kept people inspired.”

While “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is technically not a song of the Civil Rights Movement, it is a part of the fusion between religious and political aspirations that had a long and honored place in African American music. Sometimes referred to as “The African American Nation Anthem,” it was written in 1899 as a poem by James Weldon Johnsons (1871-1938), distinguished author, poet, educator, politician, and early civil rights activist, who was for many years a leader in the NAACP and a promoter of the Harlem Renaissance. The poem was set to music in 1900 by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954). The first stanza is a call to sing. The second stanza recalls the difficult journey from a gloomy past. The third stanza is a prayer. Let us sing this song proudly as we commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday this weekend. (Excerpts taken from The Times Picayne and What So Proudly We Hail and their online counterparts.)

More Articles ...

  1. Our Kyrie Rings with the Sound of Bells
  2. The "Notes from the Bench" blog is now "Musical Notes"
  3. Kathleen Thomerson and St. Patrick's Day
  4. Guide Me
  5. The Great Litany
  6. Martin Luther and John Mason Neale
  7. Dale Wood
  8. Grace? Word? Meal? Opera aria? CHECK!
  9. God is Calling ... Be Forever Changed
  10. Late to the Party?
  11. "May All Children" and Katharina von Bora Luther
  12. Happy 2015 ... Advent
  13. Elizabeth of Hungary
  14. All Saints’ Day or Hallowmas
  15. Dvorak’s “Biblical Songs”
  16. Merry Christmas!
  17. Summer Crossover Hymns
  18. Benediction
  19. Celebrations
  20. "Choros"
  21. Pentecost and Memorial Day
  22. Liturgy as Pastoral Care
  23. "I am the True Vine"
  24. Contemporary Music?
  25. Earth Day
  26. Alleluia! Christ is risen.
  27. The Music of Taizé & Daily Hymns
  28. Lent 5 - Daily Hymns
  29. Lent 4 - Psalm 42 & Daily Hymns
  30. Lent 3 - Lenten Prayer & Daily Hymns
  31. Lent 2 - Lenten Prayer & Daily Hymns
  32. Lent I - Unplugged
  33. J.S. Bach at Transfiguration Sunday
  34. Time After Epiphany 6
  35. Time After Epiphany 5
  36. Time After Epiphany 4
  37. Time After Epiphany 3
  38. Time After Epiphany 1
  39. Happy New Year!
  40. Time After Epiphany 2
  41. Christmas is Coming
  42. Happy New Year's Resolution!
  43. Closing the Church Year
  44. All Saints Sunday
  45. Reformation Sunday
  46. The Power of Music
  47. This Week's Hymns
  48. Holy Traditions
  49. Communion
  50. "Summer Hymn Sing 3"
  51. "Summer Hymn Sing 2"
  52. "Summer Hymn Sing 1"
  53. "Summer!"
  54. "Make a Joyful Noise"
  55. "Pinecrest Sunday"
  56. "Sundays and Seasons"
  57. "The Lord's Prayer I"
  58. "The Lord's Prayer II"
  59. "Psalms"
  60. "Easter"
  61. "O Sacred Head"
  62. "Amazing Grace"
  63. This is my Story
  64. Just As I Am
  65. "Greetings from Texas!"
  66. “Listen, listen, God is calling"
  67. "Housekeeping in the Hymnal"
  68. "There are no parts; there are only participants"
  69. Hymnos
  70. Music "comes from the sphere of miraculous audible things"
  71. Why do we sing?


Support GA! We now can accept your donation online. Support GA with a one time or recurring donation from our page at Vanco Services.  Or you can support GA via Paypal or Venmo.  Read more here.

ELCA Anti-Racism Pledge

As church we are called to confess the sin of racism, condemn the ideology of white supremacy and strive for racial justice and peace. Beyond statements and prayers, we are also called to act and respond to injustices. We invite you to commit to anti-racist actions at


Support GA with your purchases from Amazon


When you shop at, Amazon will make a donation to Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church.
Learn more...


Daily Bible Verse

  • Proverbs 6:6-23

    6Go to the ant, you lazybones; consider its ways, and be wise. 7Without having any chief or officer or ruler, 8it prepares its food in summer, and gathers its sustenance in harvest. 9How long will you lie there, O lazybones? When will you rise from your sleep?

Follow us on Twitter