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

Registration Form

Chamber Orchestra


Director: Michael Elsbernd

Chamber orchestra, comprised of St. John’s members with Des Moines metro-area professional musicians grace our festival worship services throughout the year. A truly multi-generational expression, the Chamber Orchestra includes some of the finest area high school, collegiate, and professional musicians from the Central Iowa region. The Chamber Orchestra offers support to the Cathedral Choir in presentations of significant choral works alongside stand-alone sacred works composed for liturgical celebrations. Rehearsals are scheduled throughout the year prior to specific worship events.


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.

String Scholars, currently comprised of students from the Drake University music department, provide musical and artistic support to the worshipping community at St. John’s throughout the program year, September through May. This resident string quartet rehearses each Sunday morning and participates in worship once a month and for special services and concerts. Repertoire for this ensemble is drawn from classical sacred music and newly published compositions – hymn-based and freely composed works. Rehearsals take place on Sundays from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm.

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 musician and educator Joel Gettys. 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.





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