Lights hanging inside the O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center

Stefan Wolf

Major: Music, voice concentration
Topic: Comparative study of hymns between denominations
Faculty Mentor:

Dr. David Jenkins

My study was a comparative study, based on the premise that hymns, which are combinations of poetry (hymn text) and music (hymn tune), convey specific messages and meanings to the singing congregation which then affect the worship experience of the congregants.   I used a combination of musicological, theological, and literary methods to analyze a sample of the hymnody of these two traditions in order to discover meaning and message contained within the hymns.  I then used these findings to make inferences about how hymnody affects American Lutheran and Catholic worship differently.

What was your favorite part of the project?

I really enjoyed being able to combine methods from several different disciplines, including musicology, hymnology, literature, and theology.  I feel that the research I did was a very good reflection of my liberal arts educational background and my wide variety of interests.  It’s always interesting to see how different subjects and disciplines weave in and out of each other to form this large tapestry of knowledge and information that is all interrelated.  Knowledge does not exist in a vacuum!

Why did you choose St. Thomas?

I chose St. Thomas because of its liberal arts educational structure, its proximity to the cities, and its quality academic reputation.  It was a very good fit for a person like me who wanted to be near the city and all of its cultural resources, but also be in a smaller, more personal academic setting.