March 2016
A Journey to Full-time Church Musician

Dan Dauner

Dan Dauner

I am the Director of Worship and Music at Trinity Lutheran Church in Evanston where I direct three adult vocal and handbell choirs, play the organ/piano for all worship services and the choirs, and do worship planning in consultation with the pastor and coordinator of contemporary worship. My route to this full-time position began in the home of a pastor and church musician (my parents) and continued with undergraduate work at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI where I obtained degrees in organ performance and music education. During my undergrad work I started playing and conducting in churches and thought I would continue in this career direction when the opportunity to be the choral director at a well-established high school choral program in Sheboygan, WI came my way. I continued part-time work in churches, and after 2 very positive years of high school teaching I decided to pursue a master’s degree in music education at the University of Illinois.

After completing the degree I took a 3-year position at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. where I was the chapel choir director, associate organist in the chapel, and taught music theory—a great blend of church music and academia. I then went on for an Ed.D. at the University of Illinois after which I was on the faculty of the school of music at Penn State for 5 years where I taught choral music education courses and conducting, directed the University Choir and chamber ensemble, and supervised student teachers.

Through all of these years of schooling and teaching, church music was like a leitmotif as I continued part time work in churches. The call to return to more intensive work in the churches came after 3 years as a registrar and musician at an ecumenical retreat center in the Cascades of Washington State and 3 years in a small Iowa town where I worked at a Lutheran camp and was the organist and choir director at a local church. I took the position at Trinity Lutheran in Evanston in 2000.

In my work at Trinity I strive to make use of the broad musical talents at the church including challenging many members of my choirs in musical leadership roles as soloists, cantors or members of small ensembles. I expose the choirs and congregation to a variety of music in styles ranging from classical to folk to gospel to global to CCM. All of these styles are worthy bearers and communicators of the Word, and all of this is done within the framework of liturgical worship. It is a privilege and honor to be able to serve God and the people of God as a church musician.

Dan Dauner

Posted in Past Testimonials.