Reformation Konzertreihe



“O let the harps break forth in sound!
Our joy be all with music crowned,
Our voices gladly blending!
For Christ goes with us all the way--
Today, tomorrow, ev'ry day!
His love is never ending!"
-Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608), O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright
(c) 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship

Join us for Immanuel Lutheran Reformation Konzertreihe, a premiere concert series marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation

Five rich and varied musical programs will animate and comprise the series running from September 2017 through January 2018 at Immanuel-Evangelical Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Virginia.

“The Reformation convulsed not only the 16th century but profoundly and forever shaped the contours of Christianity in the modern world,” observes Rev. Christopher S. Esget, Senior Pastor at Immanuel. “Our goal in sponsoring this rich and varied concert series is to explore more deeply the profound impact the Reformation had on Western music forever thereafter. It is a powerful, impactful story, and we are eager to share with our neighbors in the Washington metropolitan area some of the greatest contributions that Lutheranism had upon some of the greatest music ever composed for voice and instrument.”

Immanuel’s Kantor, Emily German, notes: “Luther himself said, ‘Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.’ A fellow Lutheran, J.S. Bach, said, ‘Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.’”

It is because of our commitment to the centrality of music in the Lutheran tradition, the parish and school community of Immanuel are honored to host the Reformation Konzertreihe, and welcome fellow lovers of music to join us for these special events.  The music throughout the series will reflect the Reformation themes of ‘sola gratia, sola fide, sola Scriptura, solus Christus, soli Deo Gloria’ (‘by grace alone, through faith alone, in Scripture alone, by Christ alone, to God alone be the glory’).



Reformation Cantata BWV 80:
“Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott”
Washington Bach Consort
Saturday, September 16, 2017

click here to listen to the perfomance





Reformation Konzertreihe commences with the critically acclaimed and widely recognized Washington Bach Consort performing Bach’s glorious Reformation Cantata BWV 80: “Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott," derived directly from one of Luther’s most famous hymns, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” (c. 1527). (Other great composers, most famously Felix Mendelssohn, who himself became a Lutheran, have incorporated Luther’s opus into their own work; Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony remains among the best examples.)

Founded in 1977 by the late Dr. J. Reilly Lewis, the Washington Bach Consort will celebrate their own 40-year tradition of studying, performing, and promoting the music of Bach and his contemporaries to the highest musical standards.



Bach Prelude and Fugue in E-flat, BWV 552:
“St. Anne,”& Luther Chorales
Concert Organist Michael Hollman
Friday, October 13, 2017
7:00pm - Concert Begins
8:00pm - Post-concert Reception




Renowned parish and concert organist Michael Hollman of Zion Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana joins Reformation Konzertreihe to perform a recital on Immanuel’s 30-rank Berghaus pipe organ, framing his program around the Bach Prelude and Fugue in E-flat, BWV 552 ("St. Anne").  The Prelude will begin and close the program while the interior of the recital will consist of Luther chorales through the Church Year.  The recital will also commemorate the 25th anniversary of this instrument's dedication.


Listen here



Reformation Hymn Festival
Choirs & Instrumentalists of Immanuel
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Post-concert catered meal

Reformation Konzertreihe continues with our very own musicians presenting a Reformation Hymn Festival.  Along with guest organist Sherry Graveson of First Baptist Church in Alexandria, Immanuel’s choirs and instrumentalists welcome guests to join in singing beloved hymns of the Lutheran repertoire and heritage. Rev. Esget, along with Immanuel’s Associate Pastor, Rev. Peter J. Eckardt, will provide commentary on these hymns as they relate to the Reformation narrative. 

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Click here to listen

Achtliederbuch Hymnal Booklet



Divine Service: Ninety-five Theses and Deutsche Messe
Rev. Christopher S. Esget & Rev. Peter J. Eckardt
Sunday, October 29, 2017
10:00 am
Post-service Reception

Immanuel will mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation itself as part of our regularly-scheduled Sunday worship.  This glorious service revives and explores the importance of Luther’s famed Ninety-five Theses, which were nailed to the door of the Wittenberg Church in Germany on October 31, 1517, sparking the beginning of the Reformation.  This festive service brings into English Luther’s Deutsche Messe, which began the restoration of Christian worship to the common language of the people. Luther’s famous setting of the Te Deum will be included in the service. 


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Click here to listen



Kantorei, Concordia Theological Seminary
Kevin J. Hildebrand, Kantor
Choral Program of Evening Prayer
Friday, January 5, 2018
Post-program Reception

Immanuel's Reformation Konzertreihe will conclude with a riveting choral program of Evening Prayer by the Kantorei from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This 16-voice choir is comprised of students studying for the Office of the Holy Ministry, and was founded in 1978 by Kantor Richard C. Resch. Directed by Kantor Kevin J. Hildebrand, the ensemble has toured and recorded widely in its 40-year existence. Recordings will be available for purchase.

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Immanuel-Evangelical Lutheran Church & School
1801 Russell Road
Alexandria, Virginia 22301


There is no fee to attend Immanuel's Reformation Konzertreihe.  Your freewill offerings to help towards the cost of the programs are welcome, however!


Immanuel is near I-395 between Glebe and King Streets, easily accessible from Washington, D.C. The King Street Metro stop on the (Blue and Yellow line) is a five-minute taxi/Uber ride away.


For additional information, please contact Emily German at