St. John's Lutheran Church

In the City for Good!

St. John's Lutheran Church participates in God's mission to bless, save, restore and reconcile the world through meaningful worship and faithful witness in the city of Des Moines and around the world.

St. John's Lutheran Church invites and welcomes all people to experience the Good News of God's grace, forgiveness and unfailing love. The Good News calls and empowers us to share God's love in word and deed throughout our city, nation and world.

St. John's Instrumentalists

Handbell Choirs


Four handbell choirs rehearse weekly and provide music for worship about once a month. Ringers of all ability levels are welcome to join us throughout the year. For more information, please contact Beth Ann Edwards (




Adult Handbell Choir
Rehearsals Wednesdays 4:30 - 5:30, Fuller Rehearsal Room

Youth Handbell Choir, grades 7 through 12
Rehearsals Sundays, 8:45 - 9:30 am, Fuller Rehearsal Room

Kisasa Musicians, grades 3 through 6 (two choirs)
Rehearsals Wednesdays 6:30 - 7:30 pm, Fuller Rehearsal Room and Eagle's Roost, as part of their choir, music, and art experience

2014-2015 Registration Form

Chamber Orchestra


Director: Michael Elsbernd
Rehearsals: Multi-Purpose Room,
Sundays 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.

This ensemble allows both young people who are growing in proficiency on their instruments and people who have seldom played since graduating from school an opportunity to put their musical skills to work in service of their church and their God. Led by a core quartet of “string scholars,” this small ensemble of strings and winds principally accompanies extended choral works, however, they also play chamber orchestra literature, accompanies anthems and hymns, and sometimes combines with brass and organ for festive services.  


St. John's String Scholars

The Friends of the Arts at St. John’s provide stipends for four “String Scholars” for each program year, September through mid-May. Talented college and high school musicians are recommended by their teachers or orchestra directors and then auditioned. This string quartet (two violinists, one viola, and one cellist) then play in worship, accompany choral selections, liturgy, and hymns when called upon, and also form the core of larger ensembles. The “String Scholars” are not intended to replace other, student or adult volunteer musicians but to encourage and strengthen less experienced players. They also make possible more authentic performance of music from the past which would have been performed with strings, winds, brass and timpani rather than organ or piano thereby breaking down stereotypes of what “traditional” church music has been and adding variety and color to the 10 am worship music.

On September 21st of 2014, the String Scholars accompanied our Cathedral Choir on Mozart’s “Ave Verum,” and played the “Romance” from his Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. October 12 the two violinists created a “Mariachi” feeling along with trumpets, guitars, bass, percussion and keyboard on two Latino/Latina hymns. Then completely changing styles, they accompanied the lovely, lyric John Rutter setting of Psalm 23, “The Lord is My Shepherd” with Cathedral Choir.

The String Scholars for 2014/2015 were: Nina Liu and Samuel Gray, violins, Heidi Pridemore, viola, and Lander Geadelmann, cello.

Blower Room Brass

Blower Room Brass.jpg

This group rehearses Sunday mornings at 10 am to prepare music for liturgies. It practices in the blower room behind the organ (hence the name), and it is led by professional trumpeter and educator Audrey Husted. Additional trumpets, cornets, horns, trombones, euphonium, and tuba are welcome. 






Instrument Ensembles

Consist of versatile musicians who play keyboards, guitars, and percussion to accompany portions of the liturgy and psalms for which that style and sound is appropriate. Rehearsals are by agreement. One ensemble, Asphalt & Stained Glass, is currently seeking someone to play bass with the group.


Asphalt & Stained Glass

Amy and Brian are working parent with spouses and young children, so family is important, but music is therapy, fun, and fellowship. Larry's full-time work is Church Music (right here at St. John's), directing choirs and orchestras, and administering, so this change of pace is life-giving for him. The resulting mix is fun to listen to and inspiring. A&SG plays during worship throughout the year.


 600 6th Ave. Des Moines, Iowa  50309 - 515.243.7691 - a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America