Psalm 135:3 Praise the Lord for the Lord is good- sing to His name for it is pleasant.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with gratitude in your hearts.
In June of 1898 when the decision was made, the paper signed, to start a new church, I can imagine what followed was probably a song-a hymn of thankfulness-acapella-in Norwegian-praising God for His guidance and provision.
Music has always been a very important part of worship here at Ebenezer. In the very early years, services were conducted entirely in Norwegian, and in 1914 the Concordia Hymnary was purchased with service and hymns in English. Both Norwegian and English were used until in 1949, services were held completely in English. There were occasional Norwegian language services on Syttenda Mai, even in the last 20 years.
Over the years there were various musical instruments acquired for accompanying worship services. Simple organs and various pianos came and went, and the Moller pipe organ that we currently have was installed in our previous building in 1964. The organ console was water damaged in the 2007 tornado, was restored, and installed in the new church. Organists of the last 50 years have been Esther Thingelstad, Mary Jane Thingelstad, Sue Ostlie, Marge Aaland, Marian Savage and Blake Segerholm.
We have been blessed with the generosity of families who have given our current 3 grand pianos. The Yamaha by the choir was given by Leroy and Carol Carroll in memory of the Nubgaard family. The brown Young Chang grand on the worship team side was given by former choir director Kathleen Lupcho’s grandsons. The Baldwin grand in the dining room was given by the Kolenda family’s former pastor Cletus Fahrion, in memory of Josh’s sister Christin.
In the past there has been a rich tradition of choir at Ebenezer, with Junior Choir, Senior Choir, as well as quartets, soloists and of course Sunday School singers. It is not written when the first choir was formed but there is a picture of the choir in 1909, and another one of the choir in about 1950. Former director Kathleen Lupcho told me that the choir used to sing year round, every Sunday. She also told me that in the summer, choir practice was held often at 9:30 p.m. so that the farmers could come in for practice, right from the field.
There have been 16 choir directors, besides myself, at Ebenezer. Some other directors you may remember are Clara Thingelstad, Kathleen Lupcho, and Jordan Kordahl.
Accompanists of the past 50 years have been Mary Jane Thingelstad, Marian Savage, and currently Mary Quanbeck and Amanda Kolenda.
We have done several cantatas over the years gathering in singers from the community, to give glory to God.
The Worship Team was formed in 2006 to lead praise and worship with traditional, contemporary and blended music. We’ve had several students take part in worship team, and our hope is that these young people use their talents as they go on to college and wherever they go in life.
Three octaves of Malmark hand chimes and 4 octaves of Malmark handbells were added to the music ministry over the last several years. They are usually played for holidays, and we will start rehearsing this month for Christmas.
Ebenezer has always cherished God’s gift of music and as we go forward, as Psalm 95 says:
O come let us sing unto the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
And “To God Be the Glory”.
Ebenezer Choir Director