Salem Creative Arts

Advent and Christmas Creative Arts

At Salem Lutheran Church, Sycamore

Wednesdays, December 1st, 8th and 15th , 7pm.

Holden Evening Prayer.

December 4th, 5th Worship Services:

Celebration Voices choir: “The Manger is Stranger.”
Sounds of Grace bell choir.
Flute ensemble: “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.”

December 11th, 12th Worship Services:

Puppet Praise “No Room in the Inn”

December 11th Worship Service:

String Quartet.

December 12th Worship Service:

Owen Ruff solo violin.

December 18th: Special Music.

December 19th:

Children’s Christmas Program!
Youth sharing musical gifts on piano and violin.

December 24th Christmas Eve Services

4pm: The ABCs of Christmas family service.

10pm: Traditional Service:

Celebration Voices choir.

Brass ensemble.

Creative Arts For Advent and Christmas!

I hope that your Thanksgiving was wonderful. What are you grateful for? I am grateful that everyone is so positive about sharing their gifts in this congregation. I hear about someone that plays or sings, I get in touch with them, and nearly everyone says "Yes!" to sharing in worship! And I will always say "Yes" if you get in touch with me to share something.

There is a lot happening in worship in the weeks of Advent and Christmas. Here are the highlights:
A video of the children's choir's art, reading poetry, and doing movement to the song, "Draw the Circle Wide," was shown in the worship service on November 27/28!

Our Mid-week services at 7:00 pm on Wednesdays, December 1, 8 and 15, are the "Holden Evening Prayer" service by Marty Haugen, with flautists and cantors participating.

The Celebration Voices and the Sounds of Grace Handbells are BOTH sharing music on December 4/5, and a Flute Ensemble and cello are also featured!

December 11/12 the Puppets are presenting "No Room in the Inn (The Innkeeper's Blues)." Also that weekend, Owen Ruff is bringing his string quartet to play in the Saturday service on December 11. And then the quartet will give a concert after the service! Owen is also the violin soloist on Sunday, the 12. It will be a very diverse weekend in worship since Puppet Praise is also participating.

December 19 is the children's program, and also some special music by individual kids. Jen Daskal is currently recruiting kids and youth to participate in this service.

Christmas Eve will have the ABC's of Christmas at the 4:00 pm service. Kirk Lundbeck will bring a brass
ensemble to play for the 10:00 pm service and the Celebration Voices will sing. So come and worship God
this Season as we await Christ's birth!

On another note, some of you have asked for the words of the song, "Not Far From the Kingdom of God," that I sang on Christ the King weekend, so here is an excerpt:
When Lambs lie with wolves without fear for their lives
When thrown in the furnace we somehow survive
When violence is silenced and peace rises high
We're not far from the kingdom of God.

When everyone's fed and has clothing to wear
when kings become servants with crosses to bear
When crowns are thrown down in a soft humble prayer
We're not far from the kingdom of God.

A kingdom, a realm of freedom, where all people have
what they need. A time and a place for the whole
human race, just like Jesus our teacher decreed.

Blessings to all of you this season!
Michael Carlson
Coordinator of Music Ministry

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.

Seasonal groups include Brass, Flute, Praise-style, or Vocal Ensembles and a Festival of Carols at Christmas. Salem Children's Choir shares an annual Spring Musical.   Individual gifts of music are most welcome as well.


Salem Vocal Choirs gather groups of children and adults to teach the faith in song and celebrate God's love and grace in worship.  Please consider exploring the gift of music God has given you or your child.

Talk to Michael Carlson about how to get involved in any of the ensembles that interest you.  Everyone is welcome and there is a place for you in one of the many music and creative arts ensembles.


Salem Children's Choir


Children’s Choir is for 3rd grade old through 8th grade. who learn about Jesus's life and teach as they practice. Rehearsals are from 5:15 -6:15 p.m. in the choir room Wednesdays.

Due to CoVid, the children will not be singing this fall.  So what will the children be doing at rehearsal you may ask, to prepare to present in worship? That could include a number of things. Suggestions have been: doing ASL with music tracks, drawing and painting, choreography, speaking in other languages, and playing percussion instruments.

adult choir performing

Celebration Voices

The Celebration Voices choir for those high school ad older who enjoy singing songs of faith in harmony.  The rehearse Wednesdays from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in the choir room September 15- May.  All ability levels are welcome. Sing for a month or two if you cannot commit to the whole season!

Due to CoVid, we are not singing as a whole ensemble at this time Smaller group are presenting music in the Saturday and Sunday worship services.  New singer of all abilities are always welcome.  Reading music is not required.  Contact Michael Carlson about your interest and he will find a place for your voice.

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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 Tuesdays from 6:00 -7:00 p.m. in the Choir Room, September 14 - May, and let your inner child shine through! Youth and adults, grade 5 and up, make a great intergenerational team ministry. Salem Puppets share in worship about once a month and prepare longer programs of faith or history about three times a year for care centers, community venues, or other churches.
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Sounds of Grace Handbell Choir

Sounds of Grace Bells is for middle school and older, 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 indicated in the score. 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 7:00-8:00 p.m. Thursdays in the Balcony.

Please contact Michael Carlson, if you have questions or wish to participate.

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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 prior to the presentation and all singers are welcome.

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Brass Ensembles

Easter and Christmas Brass Ensembles lend to the Festive atmosphere of these special services. Rehearsals are scheduled at the convenience of those participating. Please consider sharing your gift! Watch the Events pages for upcoming dates.

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Individual Gifts of Praise

Solos, ensembles, and instrumental musicians are all encouraged to enhance Salem worship. Please contact Michael Carlson, for scheduling and assistance in choosing music or accompanying.
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Singing & 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 gift 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.

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We are grateful for all involved and extend a warm welcome to others interested.

Michael Carlson

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Contact Salem