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Herl, Joseph

Joseph Herl is assistant professor of music at Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska, where he teaches courses in music history, music theory, hymnody, liturgy and parish music administration. He holds a master’s degree in organ performance from North Texas State University and a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; he is also an Associate and Choir Master of the American Guild of Organists.

Since 1996 he has been involved in the production of hymnbooks for the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, first as a compiler of the Hymnal Supplement 98 and editor of the Hymnal Supplement 98 Handbook, and more recently as a compiler of the Lutheran Service Book and author of its historical handbook. In 2004, Oxford University Press published his book Worship Wars in Early Lutheranism: Choir, Congregation, and Three Centuries of Conflict, which won the 2005 Roland Bainton Prize of the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference for best book; his choral music is also published by Oxford. Also in 2004 his hymn concertato When to Our World the Savior Came won a competition sponsored by the Midwest region of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians.

His academic interests include the history and practice of hymnody and liturgy, Latin Lutheran plainchant, the influence of doctrine on worship, liturgical inculturation, the music of the Middle Ages, American art music since 1950, and the teaching of harmony. He is also looking for ways to further the cause of music instruction in Lutheran elementary schools. In his spare time he enjoys English and American country dancing.

Choral music by Joseph Herl