Dr. Kurt von Kampen, music professor at Concordia, conducts the University A Capella Choir at the 2018 Christmas at Concordia. Von Kampen has helped compose a new hymn for Concordia’s 125th anniversary. Photo by Kim Sleeper.
By Daniel Heitshusen
In celebration of Concordia’s 125th anniversary, Professor of Music Dr. Kurt von Kampen, chair of the Music Department and director of choral activities, recently composed a new piece of music titled “Lord, Tend the Harvest In the Field.”
Von Kampen composed the hymn in collaboration with Concordia alumna Lisa Clark, director of the Editorial Curriculum Resources team at Concordia Publishing House, who wrote the hymn’s text.
Clark is a published author and has also collaborated on pieces of music with other Concordia professors in the past.
Clark and von Kampen both said that they worked on the text and composition over the summer and before classes started in August. Von Kampen was asked to work on a piece for the anniversary year, and then, according to Clark, von Kampen asked her to write the text for the hymn. Clark took special care to make the hymn personal to Concordia, even researching Concordia’s past anniversaries.
“I brainstormed words and phrases that came to my mind when I thought of Concordia and Seward…I intentionally included many of those terms within the text so that it was personal to the school,” Clark said in an email interview.
After receiving the text, von Kampen got to work composing the melody. He tries to make a melody that supports the text.
“Usually, the melody comes to me fairly quickly if the text is well crafted, which this one is. Then I figure out what chords I think need to support the melody,” von Kampen said in an email interview.
The hymn has a deep meaning rooted in Scripture and the mission of Concordia.
“The message (of the hymn) is that the mission of Concordia has been constant through the years. We are called to sow seeds to equip students for lives of service to God in the world,” von Kampen said.
“My goal for my words is that they glorify God. My prayer is often ‘Lord, give me what I need to do what You’ve set for me to do’,” Clark said.
Von Kampen and Clark’s piece will be sung at Concordia’s “Celebration at the Lied” event on March 23. Tickets are available at https://www.liedcenter.org/event/celebration-lied.