Salem Creative Arts

Salem Creative Arts/ Music Ministry offers a wide variety of worship support ensembles. Gifts of music and praise enrich and enhance services as people of all ages work together to share music as their gift to God, the congregation, and community.

Adult and Children’s Vocal Choirs and Intergenerational Handbell and Puppet Teams participate in worship on a rotating basis and rehearse weekly during the school year on Wednesday or Thursday evenings.  See the Creative Arts Calendar for the schedule.

Seasonal groups include Brass, Flute, or Vocal Ensembles and a Festival of Carols at Christmas.  Salem Praise Team leads worship several times a year.  Salem Children’s Choir prepares an annual Spring Musical – last  year Treasure Island was presented.  Individual gifts of music are most welcome as well.

We are grateful for all involved and extend a warm welcome to others interested.  Stop in for a rehearsal and see if the group feels like something you’d enjoy!

Carla and Ron Vanatta
Ministers of Music


Questions?  Contact Carla: or 815 895-9171  



Light the World with Hope & Praise

Salem Creative Arts Fall 2017

Children’s Choir 5:30 Wednesdays
Celebration Voices 7:00 Wednesdays
Puppet Praise Team 6:15 Thursdays
Sounds of Grace Bells 7:30 Thursdays

 Rehearsals begin September 13-14

All are welcome – Come when you can 

Easter and Christmas Brass Ensembles lend to the Festival atmosphere of these special services.

Rehearsals are scheduled at the convenience of those participating.  Please consider sharing your gift!

Watch the News & Events page for upcoming dates.

Salem Vocal Choirs gather groups of children and adults to teach the faith in song and celebrate God’s love and grace in worship. There’s a place for singers as young as 4 years of age.  Please consider exploring the gift of music God has given you or your child.

Visit a choir, a handbell or puppet practice between mid-September through mid-May and see if it’s a good fit and feel.  Offer to share music on an instrument or sing a solo. 

Salem Children’s Choir singers are 4 yrs old thru 5th grade and learn about Jesus’ life and teachings as they practice songs of faith to share in worship.  Rehearsals are from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the choir room Wednesdays; they sing for the 10:30 service about twice a month and for occasional festival services.  Children’s Choir participates in the Advent Festival of Carols and prepares a Spring Musical Drama. Register here!










Celebration Voices is a choir for adults who enjoy singing songs of faith in harmony [SATB].  This choir leads regular and Festival services 2 or 3 times a month at either 8:00 or 10:30 worship and rehearses Wednesdays from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in the choir room.  They invite additional youth and adult singers to a Noon “Lunch and Sing” Sun. October. 8th to preview Prophets & Angels, An Advent Festival of Lessons & Carols which will be presented for 5:00 & 10:30 worship Deember 9th-10th.




Festival of Carols or Cantatas at Salem

Adult and youth singers come together once or twice a year to prepare special Christmas or Lenten programs, extended works of narration and songs.

Instrumentalists or soloists are often featured in these worship presentations.

Rehearsals are held on scheduled Sunday and Wednesday evenings 6-8 weeks prior to the presentation and all singers are welcome.


Watch the News & Events page for dates and times.

Individual Gifts of Praise

Solos, ensembles, and instrumental music are all encouraged to enhance Salem worship.  Please contact Carla or Ron Vanatta, Salem Music Directors, for scheduling and assistance in choosing music or accompanying.

Singing and Ringing Memorials

Financial support for Salem Creative Arts is always welcome and appreciated.

Choral or handbell anthems, musicals, or cantatas may be sponsored in honor or in memory of someone.

Gifts are acknowledged in the bulletin the first time the music is shared and are cataloged as Singing or Ringing Memorials in a permanent file.

Amounts of $25-$30 sponsors a handbell anthem, $40-$50 sponsors a choral anthem, and $400-$500 sponsors a musical or cantata. Several smaller gifts may also be combined to sponsor any of these categories.

The generosity of Salem congregation and friends has enabled Salem Creative Arts to build a good choral library with a wide variety of traditional, historic, and contemporary hymn and song arrangements for worship.

Gifts to Salem Puppet Praise Ministry in any amount are also welcomed to purchase puppets or equipment. Our puppet inventory has grown to about 75 puppets from small bugs to full-sized people and animal puppets through special gifts and memorials.

Children’s Musicals

Each spring Salem children and youth prepare a fun themed musical drama for Salem worship services, and often share it as an outreach for a local care center. Rehearsals are held according to the children’s availability about 8-10 weeks prior to the presentation date. Children are given a songbook and rehearsal CD to learn the speaking parts and songs at home, and work on choreography and staging at the rehearsals. Adults and older youth help with set construction, costumes, choreography, sound, snacks, etc.

Besides being a lot of fun, musicals help memorize scripture and faith stories, build musical skill, stage presence, and confidence, and give the kids time to build new relationships. The 2017 Spring Musical is called “Treasure Island” – Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also –  and will be presented Saturday/Sunday April 29-30.

Watch the News & Events page each Winter for Musical Drama titles and schedule.

Salem Praise Team

Salem Praise Team offers praise music for worship according to the availability of the musicians.  Keyboard, drums, guitars, and bass accompany a team of lead singers in praise-style worship songs and other instruments are welcome.

Salem Praise Team gathers singers and instrumentalists for praise-style worship at occasional 5:00 or 10:30 worship services.  Rehearsals and the schedule are based on the availability of the group.  Let us know if you are interested.  Please contact the Vanattas @ if you’d like to participate.


Puppet Praise

Salem Puppet Praise Team brings smiles as adorable people, animal, and creature puppets come to life to share faith stories and songs for worship services and outreach programs. Learn to be a puppeteer Thursdays from 6:15-7:15 pm in the Choir Room and let your inner child shine through!  Youth and adults grade 5 and up make a great inter-generational team ministry.




Puppet Praise is for both youth and adults who enjoy sharing the Good News of Jesus in fun puppet songs and dialog.  By 5th grade youth are usually tall enough for the stage and there is no top age!  Puppeteers rehearse Thursday evenings from 6:15-7:15 p.m. in the Choir room and participate in worship one weekend a month.

In honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation our Puppet Team will prepare a program about Martin Luther and share it for Salem and other congregations.  A short intro to puppets is offered Sept. 14th at 6:00 p.m.


Salem Sounds of Grace Handbell Choir

Sounds of Grace Handbell Choir develops musical skill, team cooperation, and good fellowship to learn songs of praise and prayer for Salem worship.  Music reading is preferred but not mandatory; all skill levels are welcome.

Sounds of Grace Bells is for youth and adults who enjoy the teamwork of a handbell choir and the blessing of songs of faith.  Each ringer plays 2 to 4 bells and learns to ring them with various techniques as written in the music.   The ability to read music is preferred; others can learn.  Ringers work with a 3-Octave set of Malmark handbells and play for worship once or twice a month and for Festival services. Rehearsals are from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Thursdays in the Balcony.  A short intro to Bells is offered Sept. 14th at 7:15 p.m.  Please contact Carla Vanatta at 815 895 9171 or if you have questions or wish to participate.