Just saying the word "Lutheridge" around St. Mark's is likely to be met with smiles and happy nods. People at St. Mark's have owned homes there, attended retreats, and visited friends who live there. Our St. Mark's Ringers have enjoyed many a handbell weekend there. Lutheridge is also an important part of Pastor Daniel's call story.
|Thornburg Hall - My home away from home during Lutheridge Music Week|
So, you can imagine why I was excited about participating in my first Music Week at Lutheridge. It wasn't just about the possibility of cooler summer temperatures, but I had my fingers crossed! (We had great weather, by the way, with lows in the 70s and highs in the mid 80s.)
Lutheridge Music Week did not disappoint for experiences. I'll talk about three of my favorites: worship services, singing in the adult choir, and taking in the camp's natural beauty.
Most worship services at Lutheridge take place in Whisnant Chapel. The walk is not a long one, but it's quite steep. I found myself making that trek three times most days - for morning worship, an organ workshop ("Creative Song: Leading from the Organ & Piano"), and then again for evening worship.
Whisnant Chapel is about as rustic as you can get. It has a simple wooden construction. Instead of windows, there are large open spaces in the wall. This allows the cool mountain breezes (and the occasional mosquito) to pass through freely.
|Whisnant Chapel is surrounded by a forest of trees. No glass in the "windows."|
Each worship service was well-planned and beautifully accompanied by piano and/or organ - sometimes by one person and other times by a team. (The organ is rented for Music Week.) The preaching, by Pastor Todd Cutter (University Campus Minister and Director of Spiritual Life at Lenoir-Rhyne University), was reverent and meaningful. The assembly laughed at his humorous stories - like being chased by a rooster while enjoying a morning run, and being attacked by a loft of starving pigeons.
|Preparing for worship|
|A special communion service called for some special decorations.|
|The lake at Lutheridge. Does anyone know if it has a name?|
|Handbells and preaching were part of the order of worship for Thanksgiving for Baptism.|
|The adult choir rehearsing for the final service.|
Photo by Karol Kinard Kimmell
|First Presbyterian in Asheville was a wonderful place for singing hymns. |
Hymn festivals happen to be one of my favorite things.
Singing under someone else's direction, especially someone as accomplished as Nelson, is a great way for a choir director to learn new approaches to leading their own choirs. Observing how another director deals with diction, singing in tune, and artistic expression is a rare and prime opportunity. I look forward to trying out a few new tricks on our Festival Choir!
|A good variety of anthems to sing! I loved the Hagenberg and Craig Courtney pieces. "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing" (Eric Nelson's own arrangement) was very stirring - especially with such a good-sized choir!|
Finally, I found some time to enjoy a walk on one of the nature trails. The one I chose has an entrance close to the chapel and is called "The Quiet Way." It was a warm day, but the mountain breezes made for a centering walk in the woods. I used to love being in the woods while I was growing up on the family farm in Wisconsin - and the North Carolina mountains made me feel right at home.
|On a free night, I had a wonderful dinner with new friends at the Grove Park Inn.|
Thank you to First Presbyterian Church in Asheville for opening their church and organ to us. It was an amazing place to worship.
I was also grateful to have the chance to share information about the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. Our table had free copies of past editions of ALCM's "Cross Accent" journal and "In Tempo" - a practical resource for church musicians. We also had some free cds to be enjoyed for the journey home.