Guest Blogger: Michael Shirtz, Coordinator of Religious Life Music

When it comes to views on religion and faith, music has the ability to give lives meaning in different ways.

Martin Luther once said, “Next to the Word of God, music is the greatest treasure in the world.” Whether we are at a concert, in a service or by ourselves, music is an extension of our prayer.

Music is mediation. It provides celebration for us to rejoice. Music gives us solitude for those quite moments of thought and reflection. It frees our souls and lifts our spirits.

Personally, I believe music is all of this and more, and we have made this the mission of our religious music at Lakeside Chautauqua.

This summer, the Chautauqua Choral Festival Concert will take place at 7 p.m., Sunday June 24, in Hoover Auditorium. The theme is “This Land We Love,” which will feature the festival chorus, prayers and reflections, and performances by world class musicians such as Lakeside favorites C. Andrew Blosser and Amy Johnston Blosser.

During the Sunday morning Hoover Worship services, the Chautauqua Choir, organist Dee Dee Gains and special guest instrumentalists and vocalists join together to present musical selections of varying styles and messages. Unique to this year is that some Sundays have been designated with certain musical themes such as our Patriotic Sunday with the Olde Mill Brass Quintet July 1, Gospel Sunday with Todd O’Neill July 8, Broadway Sunday with actress Jessica Grové July 15, Jazz Sunday with singer Evelyn Wright July 29, and World Music Sunday with percussionist Dylan Moffitt Aug. 5. Other guest artists joining the Hoover Worship Service this summer include the Firelands String Quartet, opera soloist Brenda Pongracz, contemporary singer Ellen Winters and liturgical dancer Bella Porcari.

The Dockside and Vesper services are led musically by Jennifer Linville and John & Bonnie Wilkie, whose faith in music transcends to those worshiping in those settings by the lake. And mornings would not be mornings at Lakeside without the children singing in song and jubilee at Bradley Temple with Chip Richter.

We understand that Music on all levels is important to enhancing one’s spiritual journey and look forward to celebrating this blessing with you throughout the summer.