The congregation’s singing voice is its principal musical instrument.
We sing in many styles, from Latin chant to German chorale, from African-American spirituals to Latin American folk melodies. We use the hymns and liturgies of Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006) as our primary source.
While guest musicians often are featured on trumpet or oboe or in a string ensemble, our main accompaniment is a majestic Schlicker pipe organ. An accomplished choir, the Cantorei, is the parish’s main vocal ensemble. A children’s choir sings occasionally.
Music is in our bones at Mount Olive.
- Our musical heritage dates back many centuries but was energized especially by the Reformation, when Lutherans began to celebrate the Mass in the vernacular and to emphasize hymn singing. Johann Sebastian Bach and Michael Praetorius were early Lutheran composers. Lutherans have added much to the Western choral tradition.
- Paul Manz (1919–2009), a giant among American composers for choir and organ, served as Mount Olive’s principal musician from 1946 to 1983. He continues to influence our musical life.
- Mark Sedio (1954 –) served as Mount Olive’s second cantor from 1984 to 2000, continuing Manz’ emphasis on congregational singing but from a global perspective.
- Susan Palo Cherwien (1953-2021) was a celebrated poet and hymn writer who contributed more than 100 hymns to the ecumenical church, including, as a Mount Olive member, sixteen hymns in Lutheran books of worship.