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Music at Immanuel

"Christian and Lutheran traditional liturgical music is not regarded as something unimportant and optional. It belongs to the church's worship and plays a vital role in the communication of the Word and sacraments, the sanctification of the world and church, and in the offering of the church's sacrifice of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving to God."

Paul H.D. Lang, "Ceremony and Celebration"

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The singing church

The Lutheran Church has always been known as "the singing Church."  From the early days of Martin Luther's reforming work, the power of music to teach the faith was recognized and put to good use.  Through the hymns we sing, the faith is taught to young and old alike.  We learn about our sin and our need for a Savior.  We learn about Jesus' work for us in His incarnation, nativity, perfect life, death on the cross, resurrection from the dead, and ascension into heaven.  We learn about the Holy Spirit's work to keep us in the faith through the Gospel and how He causes us to grow in good works.  We learn how to pray when we don't know how.  Hymns and the other music of the Church are not meant for entertainment, but for our edification and growth in the faith. 

The Immanuel adult choir and cantors lead the congregation in hymn and chant most Sundays. Solosists and small groups also provide special music throughout the church year.

Make a joyful noise!

Immanuel is blessed with many talented musicians. The bell choir provides a beautiful anthem one Sunday a month. Brass and stringed instruments are also heard on festival Sundays.

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"In view of the fact that the music presented by the Choir and organist is part of the Service of Worship, it is imperative that this music be in keeping with the spirit of the liturgical character of the Service."  The Lutheran Liturgy (p. 419)

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“From the beginning of the world it has been instilled and implanted in all creatures, individually and collectively. For nothing is without sound and harmony. . . . Let this noble, wholesome, and cheerful creation of God be commended to you. . . . At the same time you may by this creation accustom yourself to recognize and praise the Creator.”

Martin Luther, “Preface to Georg Rhau’s Symphoniae iucundae,” in Luther’s Works, Volume 53 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1965), 321, 322, 324

Immanuel's Pipe Organ

Immanuel's Reuter Pipe Organ is a beautiful instrument. It was originally installed in 1936 with 14 ranks with a cost of $3,800. It was built in the old theater style, which made it not the best for leading hymnody.

In 1984, at the time of the church's 75th anniversary, a complete rebuild was done on the organ to compliment the Lutheran liturgy and the music at Immanuel. It was enlarged to twenty-six ranks. Eighty percent of the old pope work was retained and used in the new instrument. The original pipe opening was enlarged to produce more sound. Iron supports were added to the wall to support the weight of the mechanism. The console was designed to match the woodwork of the church. The cost of the rebuild was approximately $150,000. 


The goal of the rebuild was to make the organ's registration as flexible as possible. They added mixtures, mutation stopes, and the higher pipes. Unification is used to assist in the flexibility of the organ. For example, the Gedeckt eight foot and Gedeckt four foot stops overlap some of the same pipes. The advantage is that octave  extends without adding complete new sets of pipes. They also put the same stops on both manuals and pedals.

The rebuild included a full set of couplers and super couplers. When used with the couplers, the "Unison Off" stops will cause the pitch to sound an octave higher or lower, but it will take the original pitch off.

The Zimbelstern was added during the rebuild. It is one of the few that are wind-driven. A striker rotates in a circular pattern, hitting the brass bells.

The manuals have wooden keys and a tracker touch. Tracker touch means that the key-bed has a stiff action with more resistance than most organs.

Further maintenance was competed on the organ pipes in 2020. Loose fitting tuning slides and flute end caps were repaired. The exposed pipes were revoiced and cleaned and the organ received a full tuning.


The console was also updated with replaced thumb pistons and the addition of 128 memory settings to accommodate multiple organists and worship needs.

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