Ministry Focus: The Phinney Ridge Gospel Choir

~ Kent Stevenson, Director

Gospel Choir 2015“Gospel” means “good news” and the Phinney Ridge Gospel Choir continues to spread the Good Word through the upbeat rhythms and contemporary strains of gospel music at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church.

A lively, energetic group, the Gospel Choir often sings at special events in the community during the year as well as once each month at the 8:30 am service at Phinney Ridge Lutheran.

The Gospel Choir welcomes new voices and rehearses each Wednesday from 6:30pm to 7:30pm in the Tree of Life Room.

As we enter the Advent/Christmas season, The Phinney Ridge Gospel Choir welcomes you to uplift your holiday season and join them in three holiday performances:

Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015 “GUIDE US TO THY PERFECT LIGHT” Multi-Choir Christmas Concert 7pm St Bridget Church 4900 NE 50th Street, Seattle

Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015 “PATHWAY OF LIGHTS” Greenlake Center 5:30pm

Monday, Dec. 21, 2015 “PACIFIC PLACE MALL” Holiday Concert 5pm – 7pm


Ministry Focus: Cherubs and Choristers

~ Evelyn Hartwell, Director

In the pews 2014The Cherubs and Choristers are the two groups that make up the Phinney Ridge Lutheran Children’s Choir. I am in my second year of directing this group and it has been such a privilege to work with this wonderful community! The Cherubs and Choristers Choirs provide a positive environment where children learn to sing and share the blessing of music with others. It is a time of growing musically and spiritually, as we not only discuss music and vocal concepts, but how our music relates to worship and the liturgy in our service at Phinney Ridge Lutheran. Children’s Choir is also a wonderful opportunity for the children of Phinney to bond with one another over common goals and thoughts, a place to encourage one another with the love we have in Christ, to share our hope in God together in worship and praise.

Singing 2015


Ministry Focus: the Youth Choir

~ Valerie Shields

Youth Choir

Combined Youth and Children’s Choirs earlier this year

Shari Anderson, Jon Ross and I provide adult leadership for the Youth Choir. This choir is an exceptional group of young people – age 7th through 12th grade – who rehearse most Wednesdays throughout the school year, and lead worship about once a month, on Christmas Eve and at the Easter Vigil.

Teens have so many choices to make regarding where they spend their limited free time. Last week I asked those who were present to answer the question, “Why do you sing in the Youth Choir?”

They answered:

“Because I’ve been doing it my entire life and it’s just become a part of me.”

“Because I love singing, I love the people… as well as the songs we sing. The choir is a wonderful place. All the people are nice and we have become a wonderful group of friends.”

“…because it provides me with the opportunity to sing surrounded by youth of like beliefs. I love being able to share my faith through music with the great friends I have made… Worshipping God through music is truly shown by the songs and the people…”

“I enjoy helping lead worship and expressing God’s word using music. It is a fun, supportive environment and I always feel refreshed and renewed after participating in a rehearsal.”

“Because after being a part of Phinney choirs for so long (11 years), it would be weird not to.”

“I like to sing with people who enjoy singing as much as I do, to be in the community.”

“I sing in Youth Choir because I love to sing and Youth Choir is another way to get music into my life. Also, I love the friends I have made through church choir and coming to Youth Choir gives me an opportunity to sing and have fun with friends.”

“To experience fantastic music in a faith setting.”

In their own words, you can see a glimpse of what these incredible young church musicians give to this community, each other and to God.

I would add that these young people are truly a group who have created and sustained a place where it is safe to share one another’s joys and sorrows and where all are truly welcome.


Ministry Focus: the Chancel Choir

Chancel Choir Christmas 2014

PRLC’s Chancel Choir sings at Christmas Eve last year

Working in music at Phinney is an honor and a blessing. Staff colleagues who care about worship, liturgy and music, dedicated volunteers who give of their time and ability week after week, and a congregation that praises God in songs old and new all contribute to a vibrant environment for our worship together.

Most Sundays at the 11:00 service, the Chancel Choir contributes its voice to our worship. At a recent rehearsal, I asked Chancel Choir members to write a sentence or two about why they sing in choir and what they see as the role of the choir in worship. Many mentioned not only a personal love of singing, but also the deeper spiritual experience of singing to worship God and the power of singing together with brothers and sisters in Christ. Worshiping God through music in community with others is profound and sustaining.

“I love to sing and love the sense of community that choir offers.”

“Singing feels great. It lifts my spirits.”

“Choir gives me a sense of belonging, feeling at the heart of worship.”

“Besides being fun and a learning experience, it’s spiritual.”

“Singing is my truest worship . . . I feel closest to God particularly when I’m singing in harmony with others.”

“I find solace in the beautiful and simple act of singing. Being in choir has been full of spiritual healing. On days when I can’t make myself pray, at least I can sing.”

Chancel Choir members take very seriously the role of leading and enabling congregational song. Many said they worship more fully because of this role and responsibility.

Choir is “a chance for regular people to make beautiful music and help lead worship.”

“ . . a way to serve our parish and enhance worship.”

“Choir adds another level to worship. It is amazing to sing to God with others.”

“Words express ideas but music expresses feelings. Singing turns ideas into emotions allowing . . . an emotional connection to the liturgy and sacrament.”

“The choir’s role is to highlight or elaborate on the text mentioned, the scriptures, ideas . . . It is wonderful to hear that someone was moved by a piece we did in worship or that it had some impact.”

I am continually humbled and blessed by the ongoing dedication of the members of Chancel Choir. I am moved and inspired by the sincerity and deep faith present in each voice and on each face.

One choir member quoted hymns to express himself:

“I sing because I’m happy. How can I keep from singing?”

Amen to that.

~ Beth Ann Bonnecroy
Director of the Chancel and Handbell Choirs


An Invitation to Parents of 4 & 5-Year-Olds

You and your child are invited to be involved with Angel Choir this year. Angel choir is for children 4 and 5 years old. It meets during our Bread for the Journey nights, Wednesdays from 5:30-6pm. Dinner, activities and worship follow choir rehearsal. Of course there are activities for adults too, beginning with a series in the chapel by our Outreach Minister, Patrick Meagher. He will share learnings and inspiration from his travels to Assisi this summer.

Rehearsals focus on good singing posture, basic music education, exploration of musical instruments, and active listening. The children learn to sing simple songs and participate in worship service one to two times per year. Your child will join with other children from the parish and children from the CDC.

We are blessed to have the angel choir under the direction of CDC Parent, Pastor and Musician Ivar Hillesland. Here is Ivar’s short bio in his own words…

Angel Choir Director Ivar Hillesland

Angel Choir Director Ivar Hillesland

I was blessed to grow up as the youngest child in a large musical family of seven. We sang together, played together, practiced together and were drawn together through our shared passion for music. If we had known about the phenomenal benefits of early childhood music and movement programs I can only imagine what musical effect it might have had on our lives. Children are born with an incredibly natural musical aptitude that needs nurturing from an early age. However, in today’s society, music is increasingly reduced to something we receive instead of something we actively create and people are destructively taught that they are or are not talented enough to participate in it. Music is absolutely not just for professionals. I believe music is something vital to every person’s life and livelihood. Singing, dancing and playing are some of the most important activities for brain and physical development. I choose to teach early childhood music because I love children, I love the community it creates, and I want to support the natural joy we find in gathering together to sing and play. It all starts with our youngest, who so easily make music happen.

I have been playing and singing since I was a child but my primary musical passions are for voice, piano (especially jazz), accordion, and guitar. I have led music at three preschools: one in Santa Monica, one in Palo Alto, and now in Phinney Ridge. I have also been listening to the wisdom and training of my mother Linnea, who has been brilliantly teaching early childhood music for many, many years. Seeing how her students of 20 years have flourished is an inspiration.

I look forward to spending time making music with you and your loved ones.

All children are innately musical and we are blessed with a music program at PRLC that will give them the solid foundation they need to explore their giftedness. We hope you will consider taking advantage of this unique program.


Bach Cello Suites Marathon March 21, 2015

Bach Cello Suite poster 2015Saturday, March 21, 2015
10 am-2:30 pm (or so)

For more than 20 years the cello-playing community in Seattle has hosted a Bach birthday bash like no other. Come and hear Bach’s Suites for Solo Cello in their entirety, played by gifted amateur, student and professional cellists of our region. The free event, presented annually by the Seattle Violoncello Society, starts at 10AM and ends at about 2:30PM. The cellists and audience take a break after the first three suites are performed; the three remaining suites are played after lunch.

Performers dress casually and the audience is encouraged to “come as you are.” Listeners are free to arrive and depart at any time between movements—come for as much or as little of the concert as you like. This is a rare opportunity to hear these pieces performed live, all at once. Hope to see you there!

“Children of Eden” Coming to PRLC

Friday, February 13 at 7 pm at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church

Friday, February 13 at 7 pm at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church

Steven Schwartz’ musical Children of Eden comes to Phinney Ridge on February 13th, 2015, performed by the Westminster Choir of the First Presbyterian Church of Caldwell, NJ.

The musical Children of Eden is now one of the top 20 musicals most frequently licensed by Music Theatre International, which is unusual for a show that never played on Broadway. Its popularity has spread by word of mouth. The score is a favorite of many Schwartz fans and includes a vast range of styles beyond “typical” Broadway. The love song “In Whatever Time We Have” is thought to be the most popular Schwartz song, often performed at weddings.

The Westminster Choir has toured nationally and internationally for the past 28 years under the leadership of Minister of Music Barbara Piercy and her husband, Noel Piercy. The youth in grades 8-12 have performed musicals ranging from this year’s Children of Eden to Jesus Christ Super Star, Godspell, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Urinetown and Pippin.

Children of Eden is Stephen Schwartz’s favorite of his own shows, for several reasons: “To begin with,” he writes, “I think it’s my best score musically… [it also includes] the song that most espouses my philosophy of life and which, if I had one song to be remembered by, is the one I would choose: “In the Beginning”. There are more of the themes that I return to over and over – personal responsibility, rebellion, intellectual independence, as well as overcoming family dysfunctions — in this work than in any of my other shows.”



PRLC Gospel Choir Honors ML King Jr at Temple De Hirsch Sinai

MLK Weekend ShabbatThe PRLC Gospel Choir will be joining the Temple de Hirsch Sinai Adult Choir and Shades of Praise and the Jubilation Choir from St. Therese Parish in an MLK Weekend Shabbat, honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.   You are welcome to attend the 5:30 preneg gathering for light refreshments. The service begins at 6:00.

Temple De Hirsch Sinai is located at 1441-16th Ave on Capitol Hill. Parking is available on the south side of the synagogue and in the lot directly across the street to the east.