12/31/2022 @ 9:00 am – 5:15 pm
Augsburg Church
845 West 5th Street
$45 ($20 full-time student)
Don Armitage

The Song of the Church: Hymns and Their Music



9:00 Registration

9:30 Morning sessions, led by Susan Cherwien

For Glory and For Beauty: Poetry in the Service of God
Words are not benign. Words are not neutral. How does poetry affect the human brain? The human spirit? How do the words we sing together shape us into a body for praise and for life in Christ? Into what are we being shaped by the poetry that we sing and pray together?

The Sieve of Seven Questions
Over these past thirty years of writing hymn texts, I have developed a sieve of seven questions through which the texts must pass before I am satisfied that they are the best that I can do, and that they will be not only safe, but perhaps even of value, to spin out into the universe carried by song. The seven questions are, I believe, worth asking regarding any text intended for worship of God: not only hymn texts, but also prayers, sermons, and litanies. They are good questions to ask regarding visual art, the way print looks on a page, for vestments and flowers and worship space. Good questions for music. And they are pretty good questions for most of life, too. 

Lunch, and conversation with Susan Cherwien

Afternoon sessions, led by Timothy Olsen 

Our breath, our song, and the organ
How do we as organists sing our texts? 
How does the organ sing our texts? 
What role does the organ play in our congregational song? 

An opportunity for conversations with Dr. Olsen will follow.

Closing Hymn Festival led by Susan Cherwien and Timothy Olsen

The day will end by 5:15 pm.



Susan Palo Cherwien is a poet and musician. She received her bachelor’s degree in church music and voice from Wittenberg University, attended the Berliner Kirchenmusikschule, Spandau/Berlin; completed the Abschlussprüfung in voice at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin and a Master of Liberal Studies from Mundelein College, Chicago, where she focused on spirituality, ritual, and the arts.

Susan has composed numerous hymn texts which appear in denominational hymnals in the United States, Canada, and Europe and has written for The Lutheran, Christian Century, Gather, and Word and World. She is the author of the hymn text collections, O Blessed Spring: Hymn Texts of Susan Palo Cherwien; Vol. II: Come, Beloved of the Maker; and Vol. III: Peace, Be Still (all with AugsburgFortress); as well as hymn festival reflections collected in Crossings: Meditations for Worship, From Glory Into Glory: Reflections For Worship, and To God I Give My Melody (all from MorningStar); Susan also edited the sacred vocal collection, To God Will I Sing (AugsburgFortress). She served on the ELCA Language Consultation, whose work set language guidelines prior to the development of Evangelical Lutheran Worship.

Susan lives in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota, with her spouse David. They have two sons and three grandchildren.

She can be contacted through her website: http://www.susanpalocherwien.com.


An active performer, pedagogue, and church musician, Timothy Olsen serves as Cantor at Augsburg Lutheran Church in Winston-Salem, where he oversees a thriving music program, directs two adult choirs, serves as organist, and works with a music staff of Youth Music/Handbell Director, and student organ and choral interns. Dr. Olsen is also the Kenan Professor of Organ at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC. 

Dr. Olsen maintains an active performance schedule both as a solo organist, as well as a collaborative artist. He frequently performs with trumpeter Judith Saxton, and has performed solo recitals throughout the United States. Dr. Olsen has been featured as soloist with orchestras, and performs as organist for major choral works including Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem and Messe “Cum Jubilo,” Théodore Dubois’s The Seven Last Words of Christ, and Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem.

Dr. Olsen has recently recorded two compact discs on the Raven label, and has been featured multiple times on American Public Media’s Pipedreams, WXXI’s With Heart and Voice, and WCPE’s Great Sacred Music. 

Dr. Olsen enjoys singing sacred choral music (particularly that from the Renaissance) with his wife, Daniele, in a newly-formed sacred choral music ensemble, Orion. He lives in Pfafftown, NC, with his wife and three boys. 

For more information about Timothy Olsen, please visit www.timothyolsenorganist.com