Hamline News

George Chu leads choir in performance at innovative worship service April 18


 Hamline University A Cappella Choir, under the direction of George Chu, will participate in an innovative worship service and choral collaboration at Arlington Hills United Methodist Church on April 18. The performance, themed “Rethinking Church: A Choral Collaboration,” will be directed by Luana Mitchell. 

Written as a contemporary psalm, the service is framed as a conversation with God, exploring what it means to deepen the spiritual journey, and to be the people of God, the church, in our world. The choirs will premiere three choral works by composer Jan Gilbert and lyricist Jean Greenwood, and two hymns, with music and lyrics by Greenwood. This is the third collaboration between the A Cappella Choir, composer, and lyricist. It was commissioned by the Hamline University’s Church Relations office.

The choral event/worship service will take place Sunday, April 18 at 10:00 a.m. at Arlington Hills United Methodist Church , located 759 East County Road B in Saint Paul. It is free and open to all. 

The worship service is the culmination of a grassroots collaboration involving focus groups with Hamline University students, particularly the McVay Fellows and Interns and members of Arlington Hills United Methodist Church. Under the leadership of Greenwood, adjunct in the Hamline Law School and former Wesley Center associate, focus group participants contributed words and ideas that were incorporated into choral and spoken word text. 

Focus group questions included such questions as: What are your dreams for our world, for whom does your heart break, what values or beliefs inspire and guide you, what would you like to do with your life, what ideas do you have for the church of today, and what is our best opportunity to make a difference in peoples lives.

Jan Gilbert has composed for Chanticleer and was a composer in residence for churches and synagogues in the Faith Partners Program, sponsored by the American Composers Forum with support from the Otto Bremer Foundation.

Jean Greenwood is a Presbyterian minister, community faculty at United Theological Seminary, the University of Minnesota, and Hamline University School of Law, mediator for the MN Department of Education, and a freelance writer, facilitator, restorative justice and conflict transformation specialist, consultant, workshop/retreat leader, and spiritual director.