Meet Kirsten Nus (’20), a Parish Music graduate who lives out her faith through a career in teaching and music.
- Name: Kirsten Nus (’20)
- Hometown: Fort Wayne, IN
- Now Resides: Fort Wayne, IN
- Undergrad Major: Parish Music
- Primary Instruments: Organ, Violin
- Other Instruments: Voice, Handbells
- CUW Ensembles: Selah, Kammerchor, String Ensemble, Chapel Ringers
My first job after I graduated was as a substitute organist at St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Huber Heights, OH. In February of 2021 I was hired as the organist at Bethany Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I also have a full-time teaching position at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne.
Who or what inspired me to pursue music:
First and foremost, the church. Secondarily, my parents and the love and environment of music they gave to me. My parents brought me to church every week since before I was born, so that the liturgy and Lutheran chorales really formed the basis of my musical education. Singing in the Seminary Children’s Choir in Fort Wayne, listening to the Kantorei, and imitating the harmonies from the hymnal my dad would sing started my love of choral music. Listening to my mom play hymns on the piano and learning how to play from her was what prepared me to start playing the organ when my church was in need.
The greatest part of my pre-college musical education came from my learning of the violin, especially through my teacher, Doris Preucil, and the Preucil School in high school. I began playing violin when I was 6 or 7, and even though I was a very unwilling practicer, my mom’s loving persistence and insistence that I at least keep taking lessons until I was 16 is really what set the stage for the rest of my musical life.
Favorite CUW memory:
Having compline every night in the Rogate Chapel.
Favorite CUW Music memory:
There are a few “impromptu musical moments” from Kammerchor tour that come to mind, all involving singing close harmonies with close friends in a close acoustic environment. In one instance my tour roommates and I were housed by a member of a host congregation in a property she was getting ready to sell, so we had a house to ourselves with a completely unfurnished concrete basement. Of course, we took the opportunity to sing several of our choir pieces a cappella, and the experience of such a resonant acoustic and singing our favorite pieces is not one I will soon forget.
Another instance was on our tour to St. Louis, where we had the opportunity to go up in the bell tower at Concordia Seminary. In one of the brick rooms, someone started singing the Magnificat from Evening Prayer. Many of us joined in harmony, and most of us recounted it later as one of our favorite parts of the trip. Any time the choir got to sing in the library stairwell at the end of the year was also very special.
What CUW Music has meant to me:
The friends in my music classes at CUW were some of my closest friends I made throughout my time there, and are ones I know I will keep for the rest of my life. I am currently blessed with the opportunity to sing in several community choirs under world-renowned conductors, and it is making me realize just what high-caliber choral leadership I had at CUW. Overall, being around truly great teachers who loved their students and being around my peers who were excellent musicians is what developed my own musicianship.
My parish music training and education was one of the most valuable things I received; it did not just give me tools for a job, but developed my love and appreciation for the liturgy, Lutheran chorales, and all the other rich treasures of our faith passed down to us. Yet the tools I was taught were also immediately practical once I graduated; most of the pieces I learned in my organ lessons are ones I still regularly play for services. By opening to me the beauties of these treasures, my parish music education created a snowball effect by teaching me to be continuously educated by the liturgy and hymns every week as I prepare for and participate in the Divine Service.
How you can help!
The CUW Music Department is currently raising funds to build a new, long-overdue music rehearsal space. The new building will devote 6,800 square feet to rehearsal and practice rooms for the 225-plus students at Concordia who are majoring in music programs or involved in one of CUW’s 12 music ensembles. If you’d like to help, click the link below to find out how to contribute.
Since 1881, Concordia University’s mission has been teaching and preparing students for careers and vocations that serve The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Music has always been an integral part of that mission. The music department contributes to the spiritual, cultural, artistic, academic and co-curricular aspects to University life on campus. As the campus has grown in scope and size the music department has become more integral to the University mission.