St. Barnabas Lutheran Church is home to a robust music program, including choirs, ensembles and an orchestra. It’s also home to St. Barnabas Center for the Arts (SBCA) which offers music education to all who are interested, whether they are church members or part of the wider community.
The congregation supports SBCA by donating the space, which helps keep the cost of lessons down and allows more people to participate.
“Lutheran tradition has a long music tradition, going back to Luther and Bach and leading into the great Lutheran colleges in Minnesota— Gustavus, Concordia, St. Olaf. They all have wonderful choirs and music programs that stem from being part of that tradition," says Rev. Wayne Peterson, St. Barnabas’ senior pastor.
“In our tradition, music is seen as a great gift from God, so we celebrate music of all kinds, not just as part of the service,” says Peterson.
“Personally, I was a music major at Gustavus, so I have a love for and appreciation of music. I’m very pleased to have great musicians on our staff to be able to offer these programs to the congregation and also to the community.”
Peterson is grateful for Jeff Whitmill, the church’s director of ensembles and director of SBCA. “I can’t overstate the importance … of Jeff Whitmill. Jeff has a passion for sharing music. He’s a composer himself. He offers us much more than a typical church choir director would be able to offer. The center wouldn’t be what it is without Jeff.”
There are many ways to enjoy the music St. Barnabas offers. For jazz, hit the Jazz@StBarney’s concerts to hear some of the top singers and musicians in town. The church also offers lunch hour organ concerts by some of the area’s finest organists. Go to stbarnabaslutheran.org for details about performances.