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Baxter concert features world-renowned composers

Marty Haugen1 / 2
J. Michael Joncas2 / 2

BAXTER — An ecumenical effort of area churches will host a “Night of Liturgical Music” with internationally renowned, and Minnesota native, composers Marty Haugen and Father J. Michael Joncas at 7:30 p.m. March 5 at Forestview Middle School.

“People may not recognize their names immediately, but church people have heard their music,” said Jerry Jensen of Cedarbrook Center, one of the event sponsors. “You’ll hear them and say, ‘Oh, that’s who wrote the song.’”

The event sponsored by The Brainerd Area Catholic Churches, Rejoice Lutheran, Lord of Life Lutheran, and Cedarbrook Center  will feature music from Haugen and Joncas and culminate the Liturgy Day Workshop with the two composers. “It’s a real ecumenical event,” Jensen said. “A lot of different denominations are involved.” 

Jensen said the Liturgical focus is a way of bringing area churches of all denominations together to find their common ground. 

 “While there are significant differences among denominations, we are really more alike than we are different --especially in our liturgical worship,” Jensen said. “So I thought that we could put aside our differences and come together for an ecumenical workshop about music and liturgy.”

Father J. Michael Joncas, of St. Paul, is an ordained priest, professor, author, speaker and liturgical composer best known for his song “On Eagle’s Wings”. Joncas has published three books and over 100 of his articles have appeared in church music publications. Joncas serves as an associate professor in the Department of Theology at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota. 

Marty Haugen, of Eagen, is a liturgical composer, performing and recording artist and adjunct instructor at United Theological Seminary in New Brighton. Haugen has spent nearly three decades presenting at workshops and performing concerts throughout the U.S. and around the world.  Haugen’s Mass of Creation is one of the most widely used settings of Mass in the English-speaking world.

Jensen, who has a long standing relationship with Fr. Joncas, saw the opportunity bring the liturgical experience to the Brainerd lakes area as a way to partner area churches together. ‘Our area is rich with quality music offerings but nothing specific for liturgical musicians,” Jensen said. “Because of my connections to a number of national facilitators, I volunteered to bring this enrichment experience to the area.  

“I invited some churches to partner in this and am happy that Fr. Tony Wroblewski (Brainerd Area Catholic), Pastor Darrell Pedersen (Lord of Life), and Pastor Carl Larson (Rejoice Lutheran) all joined in to cosponsor the events.”

The Liturgy Day workshop invites area pastors and music ministers to attend as an effort to expand their liturgical knowledge. Haugen and Joncas will share new music for Lent and Easter as well as the “New Roman Missal”, a series of revisions underway in ritual texts used in the Catholic church.

In addition to Haugen and Joncas, other area ministers will participate in the workshop including Mike and Carol Smith. Mike Smith is the former Brainerd High School choir director and now conducts the Concordia Chapel Choir at Concordia College in Moorhead.

The evening event is open to the public. Tickets will be available at the door or can be purchased at Bethany Christian Bookstore, from sponsoring churches or online  at www.cedar All proceeds for the event will help support future liturgical workshops in Northern Minnesota. 

SARAH NELSON may be reached at sarah.nelson@brainerddispatch. com or 855-5879.