ELCA Launches Virtual Music Academy

Lutheran Summer Music Academy Virtual Choir Source: Living Lutheran

Since 1981, the Lutheran church has given 150 high school students the opportunity to improve their music skills through the Lutheran Summer Music (LSM) Academy & Festival.

The program has shifted from Lutheran college campus to campus since 2017.

“We have these three main pillars of our program that we try to put equal emphasis on,” said Thomas Bandar, LSM executive and artistic director in an interview with Living Lutheran.

“One is musical excellence—music at a high level. Two, a nurturing community, so it’s not a place for competition but a place for people to come together and support each other. And three, Lutheran faith, and that really comes out, especially, in what some people would call traditional liturgical practices and hymnody and sacred music,” Bandar continues.

For Bandar, LSM is more than just a program—it is part of a responsibility to pass along Lutheran traditions to the next generation.

“Rather, we do this because a Lutheran heritage of music is attuned to the work of teaching and repetition, of forming faith for a lifetime. Like a treasured family keepsake or recipe, it points beyond the ‘I’ or ‘me’ and past the here and now, and helps form durable and lasting connections.”

Chad Fothergill, a participant in 2000, agrees.

“It opened to this rural teenager a treasury of musical possibilities, of what could happen when a community was formed around shared song and shared experience,” said Fothergill, who is now a cantor in the Lutheran church.

Source: Living Lutheran