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O Come, Emmanuel, Our Mighty Fortress!

This past weekend I attended Concordia’s annual Christmas at the Embassy concert. A beautiful celebration of music announcing Christ’s birth and the hope He gives us through His life, death, and resurrection. The concert opened with, Rejoice, Rejoice, a mash-up of the Advent hymn, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, on top of A Mighty Fortress. The piece was commissioned by Dr. William Brusick and incorporated the two hymns into the medley performed by our band and choir. At the conclusion of this opening piece, my aunt visiting from out of state whispers, “that song alone was worth the trip.” 

Dr. Brusick is the Minister of Music at Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Klein, Texas, and a dear friend of Concordia. I have known Dr. Brusick for a number of years as I have family who are members of Trinity-Klein. Dr. Brusick was with our Concordia students and directors last Friday for rehearsal. Dr. Brusick commented, “These students and directors are inspirational. They work hard, they are focused, and most importantly, they know what is most important with Christ in their heart.” Congratulations and thanks to our band and choir students and directors for sharing God’s word through music. Well done. Soli Deo Gloria!

Last week, Concordia filled the band truck with gifts for 33 families during this year’s Christmas Bureau collection. Thank you for your contribution, and special thanks to Mrs. Stacey Salisbury for organizing Concordia’s participation in this annual event. 

Grade 9-11 students will soon receive results from the PSAT exam they took in late October. I encourage you to review your results and do two very important follow-up steps: 1) Register your Student Score Report at The College Board, and 2) Connect your PSAT Code for SAT Practice at Khan Academy. Khan Academy is a FREE, online program that offers personalized practice for FREE to future SAT exams. SAT and ACT scores may be playing an even more important role for some of our future Concordia students when the Indiana Department of Education’s (IDOE) Graduation Pathways are incorporated, beginning with the graduating Class of 2023.

Exciting in the new pathways are opportunities for service, work-related, and/or project based learning opportunities to be credited into a student’s high school learning experience. Meeting specified SAT or ACT scores will help some students satisfy the new post-secondary readiness component. Concordia has been in discussion with IDOE and fellow schools throughout the state about the new graduation pathways and will keep our community informed of Concordia’s implementation. Read more about IDOE Graduation Pathways here

What are your plans for the break and how do you plan to rest? I have simple plans during the break. Time with family in Ontario, Canada. Read a book while tending to the fireplace. I am confident I will engage in a snowball fight at some point. I am also sure there will be a handful of meals and board games with family in which we share time and conversation about school, activities, friends, and events. Time together with family is necessary for adolescents to grow in conversation skills and confidence. A very important place for family conversation is at the dinner table. Some of the benefits of regular family meals include better academic performance, higher self-esteem, and greater sense of resilience. Read more about the Benefits of Family Dinners from The Family Dinner Project.

Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel. God be with you and your family during this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas Concordia!

Patrick Frerking,