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Utech Hymnody Symposium and Festival: Guest Lecture - Paul Westermeyer

Event Details
  • Location:
    Eastman School Howard Hanson Hall
  • Date:
    Friday, November 17, 2017
  • Time:
    3:30 PM to 6:00 PM
Event Description

Paul Westermeyer is Emeritus Professor of Church Music at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he taught, served as the Cantor, and directed the Master of Sacred Music degree program with St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Prior to coming to Luther Seminary he was Professor of Music at Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Illinois, where he chaired the Music Department, directed the College Choir and oratorio chorus, and taught courses in church music, hymnody, and worship. He was Visiting Professor of Church Music at Yale University's Institute of Sacred Music; Cantor and Assistant Pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church in Riverside, Illinois; Editor of The Hymn, the quarterly journal of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada; Dean of the Fox Valley (Illinois) Chapter of the American Guild of Organists; National Chaplain of the American Guild of Organists; Chair of Ecclesiastical Concerns for the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians; and President of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. He served as the musician for churches in Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland.

Westermeyer is an ordained Lutheran pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and a graduate of Elmhurst College, Lancaster Theological Seminary, the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary in New York, and the University of Chicago. He did Clinical Pastoral Experience at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois; graduate study in the Liturgical Studies Program at Notre Dame University and the Schola Cantorum at Concordia Theological Seminary in St. Louis; and independent study in the Archives and with professors of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. His doctoral dissertation was completed under Martin Marty at the University of Chicago and is a theological, liturgical, hymnological, and musical comparison of the Lutheran and German Reformed churches of Pennsylvania in the nineteenth century.

Westermeyer's publications relate to his lifelong interest in theological, musical, and liturgical intersections. The Church Musician weaves some of these concerns together in a perspective on the role and vocation of the church musician; With Tongues of Fire surveys some twentieth century hymnody and hymn writers; Let Justice Sing analyzes hymnody and justice; Te Deum scans church music from the Old Testament to the present; and the Hymnal Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship discusses each hymn and tune in the hymnal.

Westermeyer is married to Sally Ann (Young). They have four children, two daughters-in-law, two sons-in-law, and nine grandchildren.


The first Utech Hymnody Symposium and Festival will be held on November 17–18, 2017 at the Eastman School of Music. Sponsored and organized by the Organ, Sacred Music, and Historical Keyboards Department, the Friday afternoon Symposium features a keynote address by Paul Westermeyer, Emeritus Professor of Church Music at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, followed by a panel discussion of the topic “What do we need in the way of new hymns texts?” That question relates to the first Utech Hymn Text Competition held this year, the winning poet to be included on the panel. That new hymn text, sung to a Genevan psalter melody, will be heard for the first time as part of a Friday evening Hymn Festival led by Bruce Neswick, Canon for Cathedral Music at Trinity Cathedral, Portland, Oregon. Neswick will also lead a master class in hymn playing on Saturday morning, November 18. See the following schedule for details; the public is welcome without charge at all events. Subsequent Utech symposia and festivals will be held in odd-numbered years, in alternation with EROI (Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative) Festivals in the fall of even-numbered years. Utech hymnody events are made possible through the George W. Utech Congregational Hymnody Fund, established at the Eastman School of Music in memory of George W. Utech, a published author of hymn texts, by his wife, Krestie Utech.

For more information and the full schedule for the Festival, visit:

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