The St. John’s Artist Series season continues Sunday, October 23, at 3:00 p.m. with a Reformation Festival with Organ and Chorus. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famous Ninety-Five Theses to the church door in Wittenburg, Germany, protesting what he felt to be the corruption and erroneous teachings of the church at Rome. This autumn begins a yearlong celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, and we are blessed to kick off this celebration with a joyous celebration of sacred music!
The Reformation Festival at St. John’s will feature Michael Burkhardt as organ soloist and conductor of the Festival Chorus. Included in the program will be choral works such as “Come Now, Prince of Peace,” “O Day Full of Grace,” “How Firm a Foundation,” “Go, My Children, With My Blessing,” “and, of course, Luther’s immortal “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Brass accompaniment and congregational singing of familiar hymns will also be part of the event.
Internationally known for his innovative and inspiring hymn festivals and for his creative work with children, Burkhardt is in frequent demand as a choral clinician, organ recitalist, and hymn festival leader. He is currently Director of Worship and the Arts at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Livonia, Michigan, Director of Worship and the Arts for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Artistic Director of the Detroit Handbell Ensemble.
From 2001-2007 he served on the faculty of Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as Director of Choral Activities, College Organist, and Artist in Residence. Prior to his appointment at Carthage, he was a Faculty Associate in organ at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. In addition, he served Christ College Irvine (LCMS), Irvine, California, as College Organist and head of studies in church music and music education, as well as at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Trinity Seminary, Columbus, Ohio, as Guest Lecturer in their Master of Sacred Music programs. Dr. Burkhardt is a graduate of Carthage College. He earned his M.M. degree from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, and his D.M.A. degree from Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.
Burkhardt’s appearance is partially underwritten by a gift from the Fox Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
An informal reception with light refreshments will follow the concert, during which the distinctive photography of Timothy Johnson will be on display and available for purchase. The public is cordially invited to attend the Festival event and the reception. No tickets will be sold for the program; a free-will offering will be received.