Got a question? Ask St. Cecilia!

St. Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians. It is written that as the musicians played at her wedding she “sang in her heart to the Lord.”

The St. Cecilia column, which previously appeared in print in ALCM’s Grace Notes newsletter, is back by popular demand. Pastor Ron Koch, the “Dear Abby” of the Lutheran church music world, is the voice behind St. Cecilia, and he welcomes your questions and concerns. You can reach Ron at or by snail mail to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church; 1735 Hecker Pass Highway; Gilroy, CA 95020. Telephone calls are also welcome at (408) 842-2713. All “Dear St. Cecilia” inquiries and concerns will remain anonymous and confidential.

  • Pastors & musicians together in ministry 09/22/2017
    Dear St. Cecilia, I serve with a first-call pastor who has many wonderful gifts – preaching, teaching, and excellent people-skills. I am proud to serve with her. When she first took the call, I helped quite a bit with organization, and was the “go-to” person with questions about the church. We used to have regular staff meetings ...
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  • Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing 09/20/2017
    Greetings St. Cecilia, I am the organist/choir director for a wonderful congregation. Recently our congregation started an ethnic mission that holds a service in their native tongue. One of the members is a pleasant lady who has joined our choir. Read the full article, which originally appeared in In Tempo.
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  • Performance choir? or leader of assembly song? 09/20/2017
    Dear St. Cecilia, I recently undertook a new position as Music Director at a Lutheran (ELCA) congregation whose musical tradition is long and rich. I’m coming in on the heels of a rather unpleasant parting of the ways between the former Music Director and the Pastor, so I’m stepping gingerly…for now. Read the full article, which originally appeared in In ...
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  • The Case of the Overzealous Singer 03/31/2014
    Dear St. Cecilia, I am organist at a wonderful congregation that averages 120 in worship per Sunday. The congregation sings (in the words of John Wesley) “lustily and with good courage,” even when an unfamiliar hymn is introduced. The problem concerns one member of the church who feels moved regularly to improvise her own descants. She has ...
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  • Biblical Texts in Choral Literature 08/28/2013
    Dear St. Cecilia, I am concerned that so few new choral & hymn compositions written for worship use these days draw upon the Holy Scriptures for their text. Historically, this kind of music has relied upon the Bible as a primary source for texts, with special attention to the Psalms and the Gospels. I don’t know ...
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  • Inconsistent Attendance 07/31/2013
    Dear St. Cecilia, As our Handbell choir director, I have spent a great deal of time impressing on the Ringers the importance of everyone participating on a consistent basis.  I ask people to bring their schedules to rehearsals to confirm the times we are to ring for worship, and the dates and times of rehearsals.  Once ...
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  • St. Cecelia – She's back! 07/23/2013
    Dear St. Cecilia, Where have you been?   Signed, Wondering Dear Wondering, Thanks for asking. I think I got lost in the transition from print to electronic production of the Grace Notes newsletter. Sometimes these things happen. You wake up one morning, and the 21st Century has left you behind. That doesn’t mean there is no need for you or for what ...
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