Michael Mills, OSA, is an accomplished liturgical artist and designer. He is perhaps most widely known in the ELCIC for his engaging and elegant design of the worship space for the 1997 ELCIC National Convention held in Toronto. Pastor Mills was an artist-in-residence at the 1998 ELCIC Worship Conference, The River of Life, where his striking Covenant Triptych, formed a central part of the presentation.
Pastor Mills designed the logo of the familiar image of a presiding minister entreating people to "lift up their hearts" in the eucharistic liturgy, The image has served on the splash page of the ELCIC's Lift Up Your Hearts worship and spirituality web site where a number of Pastor Mills' works can be found.
Pastor Mills has a special concern for the environment for worship. He has been in demand as a consultant in connection with the redesign and refurbishment of congregational worship spaces.
In October, 2001, Pastor Mills, through a juried exhibition of his peers, was accepted into the Ontario Society of Artists. The OSA was founded in 1872 and is Canada's oldest continuously operating art society. Membership in the OSA has included such distinguished artists as Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald and A.J. Casson familiar to many as members of the Group of Seven.
A graduate of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, Pastor Mills serves as a full-time parish pastor at Advent Lutheran Church, Toronto.
"As a renowned church organist, conductor, composer and improviser, David Cherwien brings creativity to hymns of various traditions and styles. He has won national acclaim as a leader of congregational song with hymn festivals that are always inspiring. With innovative merging of organ, piano, instruments and voices, his music enfolds the participants and transports them to an encounter with the sublime. Through this expression of faith, Mr. Cherwien bears witness that music is a glorious gift of God." Pilgrim Lutheran Church, Fine Arts Series 1997, Indianapolis, IN.
David Cherwien is currently serving as Director of Music at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, and in 2002 was appointed Music Director for the National Lutheran Choir, also based in the Twin Cities. He has also held full-time parish music positions in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Chicago, Seattle, and Berlin. During the 2000–2001 academic year he served as Organist/Cantor of Christ Chapel and Visiting Instructor of Music at Gustavus College, St. Peter, MN. While in Chicago, he served as Teaching Associate in Service Playing and Improvisation at Elmhurst College. He completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance, and the Master of Arts degree in theory and composition, both from the University of Minnesota. His undergraduate work was in organ performance and music education at Augsburg College, Minneapolis, where he was honoured as distinguished alumni in the fall of 2000. Following his undergraduate work he studied for two years at the Berlin Church Music School in Berlin, Germany. There he studied improvisation with Renate Zimmermann, organ literature with Karl Hochreither, and composition with the late Ernst Pepping. He has also studied organ with Christian Baude in Aix-en-Provence, France, and with Paul Manz, Heinrich Fleisher and Earl Barr in the United States, and he is a Fellow with Melodious Accord, studying composition with Alice Parker.
He is composer of the popular series for organ, Interpretations, based on hymn tunes (Lorenz) and has published other liturgical music for choir and organ with AMSI, Abingdon, GIA, Morningstar, Concordia, Augsburg/Fortress and Choristers Guild. He is author of the book Let the People Sing, a practical guide for those who lead the congregation in song published in 1997. He has recorded two CD's of congregational hymns and organ arrangements with AMSI called Interpretations.
Dr. Cherwien has distinguished himself among American organists by his ability to play an entire church service: including prelude, postlude, liturgy, and hymns; with very little reference to printed music. In the European tradition of church organists, going back to the time of Bach and before, he composes or improvises much of the music he plays in a worship service. The music is based on the lessons and liturgy appointed for the day and even on the texts of the hymns to be sung.
David is a founding member of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians serving in its leadership in a variety of capacities, including National President from 1993 to 1997. He is also active in the
American Guild of Organists, and Choristers Guild.
His workshops on church music, service playing and improvisation, and his hymn festivals and other worship leadership roles have brought him to many parts of the United States and Canada.