Engaging a Wide Range | Martha Johnson and Levi Nagel

Martha Johnson and Levi Nagel

Engaging a Wide Range of Instrumentalists and Vocalists

In an earlier era of WELS worship culture, it was often only festival services (and the occasional obbligato instrument with a choir selection) that merited inclusion of instruments beyond the organ. Now some churches regularly involve a wide variety of instruments beyond organ and piano. Regular use of singers beyond a choir (of adults or children) is also common. This session covers a wide range of related topics: recruitment and organization, selecting and arranging music for beginning instrumentalists, nurturing the less skilled rather than relying on the A-team, the same music in each service but with different singers/players, intergenerational ensembles, young musicians in school chapel, and more.

Bio | Martha Johnson

Martha is a 2004 graduate of Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minn., where she received a degree in education with an emphasis in music. She served at Nebraska Lutheran High School in Waco, Neb., as the choir and band director for 11 years and later as the minister of music at Bethlehem in Menomonee Falls, Wis. Currently Martha teaches 5th grade and upper grade music at Peace Lutheran School, Hartford, Wis. She also sings with The Lutheran Ceili Orchestra, Canticum Novum, and the Lutheran Chorale of Milwaukee.

Bio | Levi Nagel

Levi NagelLevi is a full-time staff minister serving in the area of worship for the past 19 years. From 2005–2016 he served at Grace, Falls Church, Va. He currently serves as the minister of music and worship at St. John’s, Milwaukee (Forest Home Ave.). He holds a BA in music from Wisconsin Lutheran College and a Master of Church Music degree from Concordia University Wisconsin. While living in the Washington, D.C., area, Levi sang professionally with several choirs, including the Washington Chorus and the Washington Master Chorale, for the latter of which he was the principal chair for his section. Levi has also been the artistic director of the Lutheran Chorale of Milwaukee since 2018. During the hymnal project, he served on the music subcommittee of the hymns committee, and in 2022, he served as one of the clinicians for the East Regional Choral Festival.