SEWARD, NEB. (11/03/2017) Dr. Jeffrey Blersch played the 103-rank Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ for two Reformation Hymn Festivals at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri, on Oct. 15.
Dr. Blersch serves as professor of music at Concordia University, Nebraska, teaching Music Theory, Organ, Arranging and Orchestration and is the conductor of the Cantamus Women's Choir. He is also an active composer having more than one hundred compositions and collections published with Concordia Publishing House. Additionally, four of his original hymn tunes are included in the Lutheran Service Book and he has two compact disc recordings of his original works.
Blersch led more than 4,000 people in singing hymns in two sold-out shows organized by the Kansas City-Area Lutheran Churches. Some of Blersch's original music was played during the prelude as well.
The theme for the festival was "We Sing the Faith" based off of Luther's assertion that music could be used as a basis for teaching. The concert was split into three parts to express the three articles of the Apostle's Creed and the Trinity.
Presidents from both the Lutheran Missouri Synod and the Kansas Missouri Synod were in attendance and provided readings and commentary on a few of the pieces. Mass choirs of over 350 performers came from various churches, Kansas City Lutheran High, and St. Paul's Lutheran High School from Concordia, Missouri. Other performers included a dozen musicians in a brass ensemble and two organists including Blersch.
"The audience was really a performer too," said Dr. Jeffrey Blersch. "The opportunity to perform on that grand of a scale doesn't come around very often. It was an honor to play on a magnificent instrument in such a magnificent setting like that."
Blersch is a graduate of the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music where he received a degree in organ performance and music education. He went on to earn his Doctor of Music Arts in Organ Performance from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Prior to his appointment at Concordia, Blersch served as Cantor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Illinois, Associate Professor of Music at Concordia University, Ann Arbor and as an elementary music specialist at the Brunswick City Schools in Ohio. He has been an active church musician since being appointed organist of Peace Lutheran Church in Ohio at age eight.
Concordia University, Nebraska, founded in 1894, is a fully accredited, coeducational university located in Seward, Nebraska, that currently serves more than 2,700 students. Concordia offers more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in an excellent academic and Christ-centered community that equips men and women for lives of learning, service and leadership in the church and world. For more information, visit cune.edu.