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Schuft to retire after 42 years with children’s choir

This summer will mark the end of many years of First Evangelical Lutheran Church children’s choir for long-time director Glenda Schuft.
Schuft, a graduate of St. John's College, Winfield, Kansas, and Concordia University, Seward, Nebraska,  moved to Glencoe in 1973 to teach school at First Evangelical Lutheran School.  She immediately began leading children’s singing groups in the Lutheran school. She also started a regular practice and performance schedule for children who were members of First Lutheran and attended public school.
“I wanted to make singing in church a priority for all the children of the congregation,” she said.
She has directed all ages from age 3 through eighth grade, dividing them into different age groups. Most recently she has directed the two Sunday School choirs, made up of children from both Lutheran school and public school.
When asked what the hardest part of her job was, Schuft replied, “Choosing the songs.” She said there are many things to consider: the vocal range, the difficulty, the meaning, will they like it … but, most of all, is it what the Bible says. Is it about what Jesus has done for us?  Does it proclaim Christ crucified?
“There are many children’s songs out there that do that and those are the songs we sing.”
She also tries to choose songs that follow the Bible readings and the seasons of the church year. She says she is primarily a teacher of the faith, not a musician. And a good way to teach the faith is through quality Christian songs.
“The easiest part is teaching the children the songs,” she said. Although she does play the piano, she usually teaches the songs without piano. “A good way for children to learn a song is from a human voice.”
She said her favorite part was getting large groups of children together, learning the same song well, and singing it to enhance worship services. “Sometimes we sing from the balcony, sometimes from the chancel steps in the front, but always for the glory of God and proclaiming His redeeming love. It’s never just a performance.”
Now, after completing 42 years (she took off a couple of years when her own children were small) it is time to pass the director’s “baton” to someone else. The last time the children will sing under Schuft’s direction will be July 9 at 4 p.m. for the ordination and installation of First Evangelical Lutheran’s new assistant pastor, the Rev. Peter Adelsen.