On June 10, 2015, the Valparaiso University Chorale, Valparaiso, Indiana, performed a concert with the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra under the direction of the renowned conductor and tenor, Dr. Christopher Cock, in Lukaskirche during the initial few days of their 2015 Tour in eastern Germany. The Chorale performed a repertoire of many works of contrastive character, highlighting in particular work of Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Friedrich Händel and including several American works of contrastive genres. An appreciative crowd of members and visitors welcomed them warmly and responded enthusiastically. One attendee remarked, “I have lived in Leipzig for seventeen years, and [the Chorale in this performance] was by far the best choir I have heard in this city.”
The concert served as part of the 2015 Musical Outreach Initiative hosted by St. Trinitatisgemeinde (Holy Trinity Congregation) in Leipzig, Germany, a congregation of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany, which has recently begun its full congregational life in Lukaskirche (St. Luke’s Church) as part of a broader mission effort both to the immediate-surrounding community of Volkmarsdorf and to greater Leipzig.
In the video below, the Chorale and the Orchestra perform J.S. Bach’s “O Jesu Christ, mein’s Lebens Licht,” BWV 118.
“We were pleased to host the Valparaiso University Chorale as part of their 2015 Germany Tour,” says Rev. Dr. Christopher S. Ahlman, Strategic Mission Developer for LCMS Eurasia, who facilitates the Lukaskirche Musical Outreach Initiative. “Their superlative musicianship placed their well-chosen program on a very high plateau, and we are pleased that Lukaskirche served as a location for such an excellent performance. More broadly, we are thankful for the multi-faceted support that the Chorale has lent to our Musical Outreach Initiative efforts in Lukaskirche: an excellent performance that fosters our budding reputation, new musical connections and greater exposure in the city of Leipzig, the designation of several free-will offerings toward the Lukaskirche organ restoration, and the possible greater exposure of our work in Germany, the United States and beyond. As an LCMS-supported endeavor, we are grateful for the special historic relationship that the LCMS and Valparaiso University have shared for the past ninety years, and in particular are we grateful for the mutually-beneficial ways in which we can collaborate, on the basis of this relationship, in meeting our God-given objective and goals: sound musical performance of the highest caliber; exposure to previously unknown locales, people and situations in life; the advancement of the Gospel in song; and the claiming of people as God’s very own in Christ Jesus. We pray God’s continued blessings upon the continuing students of the Valparaiso University Chorale, as well as for soon-to-be alumni embarking on their new careers or programs of advanced study.”
In the video below, the Valparaiso University Chorale performs the Shaker tune, “Lay Me Low.”
The Musical Outreach Initiative of Lukaskirche was begun in 2015 by Dr. Ahlman, as part of his overall work in the Eurasia region of connecting people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through musical activities, such as concerts, masterclasses, devotional activities and research endeavors. While the Initiative has begun with concert activity, other forms of musical outreach of a more concentrated educational and cultural nature are being entertained and planned. It is the hope that as much of greater Leipzig as possible will benefit from this Initiative, in the context of a faithful proclamation of Jesus Christ and a faithful confession of His name.