Author: johnwalton3

Kyle Pederson of Minnesota wins the 2015 Composers Contest


The Lutheran Youth Choir International is pleased to announce the winner of its 2014-2015 International Choral Composition Contest.  Sixteen entries from three countries were received.

This year’s winning entry is “Christ Be Born In Us” by Kyle Pederson of Eagan, Minnesota.  Mr. Pederson serves on the music staff of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, Minnesota, and is also the co-founder of Learner’s Edge, an international education company.  He holds degrees from Augustana College and the University of St. Thomas, and is currently enrolled in the MFA degree program in music composition at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.  Pederson’s compositions have been sung by choirs in more than a dozen countries. His most recent commission was featured at the 2015 TAISM International High School Choral Festival in Oman.  In addition to a $500 cash prize, Pederson’s winning composition will be performed by the Lutheran Youth Choir International at its biennial Festival of American Vocal Music in Germany.


The winner of the choir’s earlier 2013-2014 contest, “Grace and Providence” by Joshua Hummel of Hartford, Connecticut, will be performed six times in Germany as a part of the Lutheran Youth Choir’s upcoming 2015 Festival of American Vocal Music, July 25-August 3.  Hummel’s composition will be included in the choir’s original Evening Prayer for Peace service, sung in Mansfeld, Erfurt, Brandais, and Berlin by combined American and German high school students in residence at Mansfeld Castle in Saxony-Anhaldt.  Philip Spencer of Naperville, Illinois is the Lutheran Youth Choir’s Founding Conductor and Artistic Director of its Festival of American Vocal Music in Germany.


Emerging talent Kyle Pederson is equally at home as a pianist, recording artist, composer, and arranger. His first project–a collection of instrumental hymn arrangements,

Renewal–was released in 2009 and was chosen as one of the top albums of the year by Mainly Piano. His second album–12.25, a collection of piano solo arrangements of Christmas carols/hymns–landed as high as #4 in the monthly ZMR charts shortly after its release in 2011.

Pederson’s choral compositions have been sung by choirs in over a dozen countries, and his most recently commissioned piece was featured at the 2015 TAISM international high school choral festival in Oman.

Pederson’s music is frequently performed at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, Minnesota, where he works as an arranger, composer, and accompanist. Pederson is also the co-founder of Learner’s Edge, an international education company devoted to improving the quality of teaching and learning. Pederson graduated from Augustana College, holds a masters degree from the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota, and is currently enrolled in the music composition MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.


Composer’s thoughts on the piece, “Christ Be Born in Us”

As a life-long Lutheran, and singing/accompanying in church choirs for over thirty years, I am thrilled that this piece will find a home in such a meaningful context.

The text of the piece was inspired by a conviction that the deepest meanings of Christmas are alive and meaningful throughout the year…in April, July, and of course, late December. At heart, the text is a prayer; we pray that Christ be born into our hearts, into our world, and into the entire creation each and every day. We pray that God’s loving, redemptive power radiate through all that God has made, and that all people and nations may be joined together.


Joshua Hummel of North Carolina wins the 2014 composers contest

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The Lutheran Youth Choir International is proud to announce Joshua Hummel as the winner of the 2014 Composers Contest with his work Grace and Providence. Mr. Hummel’s work will be performed during the upcoming tour of Germany.

Joshua Hummel, composer and pianist, is the recipient of various composition awards including the prestigious Frederick Fennell Prize and the Leonard Bernstein Award. His music has been performed in Carnegie Hall and throughout the US, as well as Paris, Croatia, Perugia, Rome, London and Moscow. Hummel holds an M.A. in Theatre and MMus. in Composition and has studied with professors from the Hartt School of Music, San Francisco Conservatory and Julliard.

Hummel has received several awards for his choral music. Later, a setting of the Wassily Kandinsky poem won the 2010 Cantate Chamber Singers Young Composers Competition. His choral work, Novum Decus Oritur, won First Prize in a Cambridge, MA, choral competition; and though poppies grow, won Second Prize in a London-based choral competition sponsored by Recital Music, and his setting of the Kyrie won the 2012 ActorCor Choral Composition Competition. And in 2014, he recently won the Loyola University Maryland Prize for Composition with his setting of God of Our Fathers.

His wind ensemble music has been performed throughout the country by some of the nation’s top college bands including The University of California at Long Beach, The University of Texas at Austin and the Yale Concert Band. In February 2011 the Yale Concert Band premiered his Fennell award-winning composition, Haiku Symphony No. 4, in Woolsey Hall and Carnegie Hall. And in 2012 he won First Prize in the Austin Civic Orchestra 2012 Composition Competition with his orchestra piece, Haiku Symphony No. 2.

Hummel composes for Colors in Motion, an arts collective in Cambridge, MA, and owns Sinensis Music, a composition studio in Hartford, CT.

Thoughts from the composer on Grace and Providence

I adore the poetry of William Cowper and came across
this poem while searching for a Thanksgiving text to set.
I composed this for my church choir which posed the ever-interesting
challenge to balance accessibility and originality, simplicity and craft.
The final product struck a fair balance for my group of amateur singers,
and I hope the Lutheran Youth Choir will find it enjoyable and rewarding.
And I hope the truths of this text will resonate in your heart as it has mine;
and may this setting enhance and propel a sense of deep gratitude to God
for the immeasurable gifts of providence He has given us!
The final stanza amplifies my feelings on this piece:
Forgive the song that falls so low
Beneath the gratitude I owe!
It means Thy praise, however poor,
An angel’s song can do no more.



2015 tentative tour schedule

Lutheran Youth Choir International’s

2015 Festival of American Vocal Music

Mansfeld, Germany

July 25-August 4, 2015


Note: Evening Prayer for Peace is the worship service set in both German and English composed for the Lutheran Youth Choir by its director in 2008.

It is the format for most of the choir’s performances, and includes several pieces of American sacred choral music, including gospel and jazz, in addition to the liturgical music.

before July 25

Two days of preliminary rehearsal at local sites (i.e. Glen Ellyn IL, John’s Creek GA)

Day 1 (Saturday, July 25)

Departure for Germany

Day 2 (Sunday, July 26)

Arrive in Berlin, coach transfer to Mansfeld, Germany

Dinner at Mansfeld Castle, get settled in dorm rooms

Evening: first rehearsal, devotions

Day 3 (Monday, July 27)

All meals at Mansfeld Castle

Morning: devotions, rehearsal

Afternoon: rehearsal, free time

Evening: discussion, free time

Day 4 (Tuesday, July 28)

All meals at Mansfeld Castle

Morning: devotions, rehearsal

Afternoon: work project, performance at senior citizen home

Evening: “grill party” in the castle ruins, discussion

Day 5 (Wednesday, July 29)

Breakfast and lunch at Mansfeld Castle

Morning: devotions, rehearsal, travel by coach to Eisenach

Afternoon: tour Wartburg Castle, Bach House

Evening: joint concert with local choir, or sing Evening Prayer for Peace in local church

Day 6 (Thursday, July 30)

Travel by coach to Erfurt

Free time in town, tour city

Sing Evening Prayer for Peace in Augustiner Kloster

Day 7 (Friday, July 31)

Travel by coach to Leipzig

Free time in town, tour St. Thomas Church

“Flash Sing” at Bach statue

Possibly attend local concert

Day 8 (Saturday, Aug.1)

Travel by coach to Wittenberg

Tour city, Castle Church

Sing for English language afternoon service at Town Church

Day 9 (Sunday, Aug. 2)

Sing for morning service at Kloster-Mansfeld Church

Travel by coach to Berlin

Sing Evening Prayer for Peace at local church

Stay overnight at YMCA Youth Hostel

Day 10 (Monday, Aug.3)

Tour of Berlin, including Reichstag

Free time for shopping

Sing Evening Prayer for Peace at Kaiser-Wilhelm Church

Day 11 (Tuesday, Aug. 4)

Depart for United States