Prelude Blog

Sarah Hawbecker

Sarah J. Hawbecker is a graduate of St. Olaf College and the Eastman School of Music. Since 1996, she has served as Organist and Director of Children's Music at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Atlanta, GA, overseeing a program of two children's choirs, three handbell choirs, a summer music camp, and a concert series. She has performed for and presented workshops at regional and national gatherings of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and of the American Guild of Organists, and has served as adjudicator for several organ competitions.

Recent Posts

Planning to Be Flexible

Posted on Apr 13, 2021 9:00:00 AM by Sarah Hawbecker in Music Ministry

My theme for this past year became flexibility. It took me some time to get there. I’m a planner. Any good church musician needs to be. Pre-pandemic, I planned my entire choir year in the summer before rehearsals started. Every anthem, every rehearsal, every worship service was organized around the lectionary, the school breaks, confirmation, and other youth activities. It was a puzzle I enjoyed working on, and it enabled the year to go smoothly. Sure, there were little bumps in the road, and I would make adjustments, but the puzzle pieces all fit. It worked until March 2020, when the puzzle fell apart. Actually, it wasn’t even a puzzle anymore; it was a whole new game. New feelings swarmed: fear, excitement, disinterest, exhaustion, and curiosity, to name just a few.

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Intentionality in This Unusual Christmas Season

Posted on Dec 2, 2020 9:00:00 AM by Sarah Hawbecker in Music Ministry, in Christmas

December 2020 will be like no other holiday season we have seen in our lifetimes. Gatherings are limited, and singing is prohibited. We church musicians are accustomed to being extraordinarily busy during this time, often to the point of exhaustedly cranking out notes and crossing each musical concert or service off our list. This Advent and Christmas, my schedule is drastically reduced. Is this a loss? Yes, but could it also be a gift?

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Taking on the Children's Musical

Posted on Feb 25, 2013 7:48:01 AM by Sarah Hawbecker in Choral Techniques and Repertoire, in review-prelude

Some directors dread doing musicals, and even avoid them. I direct both a Christmas and a spring musical every year, because I believe that the positive benefits of these performances are huge. I am well aware of the cons, the biggest of which is simply the work. A LOT of work! Depending on the musical, there’s dialogue, staging, costumes, sets, props, and choreography. I guarantee that there will be some aspect of undertaking a musical that will take you outside of your comfort zone. Here are some things to consider:

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Scripture Based Children's Anthems

Posted on May 21, 2012 8:23:58 AM by Sarah Hawbecker in Choral Techniques and Repertoire, in review-prelude

The texts we choose for children to sing are as important as the musical qualities of an anthem. What better texts are there to teach our children than words of scripture? The following anthems are just a few of the ones I have found to be worth teaching and repeating.

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Teaching Hymns and Liturgy to the Children’s Choir

Posted on Apr 30, 2012 7:40:16 PM by Sarah Hawbecker in Choral Techniques and Repertoire, in review-prelude

I no longer assume that the children entering into my choir are familiar with the Lutheran liturgy and standard hymns, even Christmas carols. There are several reasons, including the lack of sacred music in the schools, families’ sporadic worship attendance, and attendance at “alternative” services. Our staff is making more deliberate efforts to encourage families to worship together regularly. I schedule our 2nd-6th grade choir to sing for worship at least once a month. One of the third grade boys recently told his mother that church was more fun when he was in the choir, because he had more to do. Yes, indeed - church is much more fun when you can participate because you have rehearsed the responses and know the hymns!

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The Organist's Summer

Posted on Jul 18, 2011 11:34:11 AM by Sarah Hawbecker in Instruments and Ensembles

What to play?

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