Variety of music on display at Grace Lutheran

Published 7:45 am Friday, December 2, 2011

Members of Grace Lutheran’s Praise Band play at a contemporary service every second Sunday of each month. The Praise Band plays Dec. 18 this month, as the Sunday school Christmas service will be held on Dec. 12. -- Photo submitted

After three years at Grace Lutheran Church, Pastor Jeffrey Forbes has musical talents crawling out of the woodwork.

“I was really surprised and at ease when I found out how many people are talented at Grace here,” Forbes said.

About a year and a half ago, Forbes decided to put some more contemporary music into play. He grew up around music, played the piano, guitar, bass guitar and other instruments, and his love for music has rubbed off on much of the congregation.

Email newsletter signup

Among the church’s regular choir, there’s a lot of variety. There is the Praise Band, in which Forbes and many other Grace members perform modern Christian music; there is the ever-popular 92-year-old Kenny Schara playing piano before church events, and there are several soloist singers with a lot of talent.

The second Sunday of each month, Grace members showcase their talents at a contemporary service, which is the most-attended service on a regular basis, Forbes said. Employing more contemporary music and getting people directly involved in the services were parts of Forbes’ vision when he arrived at Grace Lutheran.

“I noticed that we needed some more younger families involved,” he said.

Through their own passions for music, Forbes and a former intern, Rob Zahn, concluded that showcasing the Praise Band during services would be a good idea.

“We stayed up until midnight once, just playing back and forth for six hours on songs, and we thought, ‘Let’s do this,’” Forbes said.

He added the congregation took a liking to the second services right off the bat, clapping hands, singing along and getting into the rhythm.

“It’s a great experiment that turned out very well,” Forbes said.

Since employing more music at Grace, members have pitched in more money to obtain new audio equipment, and Austin’s Apold Music has been a big help, too, Forbes said.

Those who want more of the traditional hymns can attend the early service. However, many older members have even been attending the second service.

“A lot of older people come just for that service, too, because there is an energy,” Forbes said.

According to Forbes, that excitement and energy is something that belongs in church, something other churches are missing.

“We have fun, and that’s a three-letter word that’s not said much in some churches,” he said. “The joy of the Lord is praise and Fellowship.”

Pictures and an audio clip of the Praise Band can be seen and heard at

Because Grace Lutheran’s Sunday school Christmas program is Dec. 12, the next contemporary service will be 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 18.