Luther College Ministries hosts non-profit, Music That Makes Community

February 17, 2020

From Feb. 27 to 29, Luther College Ministries will host Music That Makes Community, a national non-profit group focused on community singing and song leading.

Music That Makes Community will hold several events during their residency for the Luther and Decorah Communities. Centered around group singing, they hope to create deeper connections among people and their communities.

To kick off their residency, leaders of Music That Makes Community will lead the Luther College Chapel service at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 28, in the Main Hall of the Center for Faith and Life. It will be followed by an afternoon of workshops with Luther music students. From 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, in Shirley Baker Commons on Luther's campus, the public is invited to participate in song and a potluck. 

On Saturday, Feb. 29, Music that Makes Community will hold a one-day workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for those interested in learning to improve their paperless and group song leading skills. Advanced registration for this event is required. Tuition costs will range from $35 to $100. Scholarships are available for students. Visit to register. For more information contact 

"Luther College and Decorah are places known as community centers and spaces of music and singing. We're a natural fit with the national movement being led by Music that Makes Community," said Vicar Amalia Vagts, Luther College Ministries intern. "People understand the power that simple singing can have in a community - we've seen it at vigils and in homes. Many in our community are interested in more experience with this ancient form of singing, and those who are leaders are eager for the chance to learn real tools that make song leading effective and invitational."

Music That Makes Community is a nonprofit organization that works to help people connect and learn through singing. They do this by teaching the practice of paperless song leading. Paperless singing is grounded in a theology of welcome and generosity for the benefit of musicians, clergy, congregations, students and others interested in using the practice to enrich their worship and community lives.

"It is wonderful to witness the resurgence of oral tradition singing in churches and other faith communities. While retaining hymnals and other beloved forms of music-making, congregations are adding in this simple, accessible, ancient tool for learning songs that are short and easy enough that they can be learned quickly and remembered collectively," says Liz Rog, a Decorah community song leader who has helped in planning this special event.

"I'm most excited about the opportunity for Luther students to learn alongside and make connections with community members. I'm very much looking forward to the training for myself, too, and to bringing my whole family to the community sing and potluck," said Luther pastor, Annie Edison-Albright. "There's nothing like the experience of being surrounded by music at a singing event; it's good for the soul."

This residency is hosted by College Ministries in partnership with the Luther music department, the Center for Ethics and Public Engagement, the Nena Amundson Lifetime Wellness Program, Pleasant Valley Villagers, area congregations, Decorah Bank and Trust and Viking State Bank.

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