Paul Westermeyer came to Luther Seminary in 1990 to teach church music, implement the master of sacred music program and serve as cantor for the Seminary. He had been at Elmhurst (Ill.) College since 1968, where he was professor of music, chair of the department, director of the choir and oratorio chorus, and organist.
He was visiting professor of church music at the Yale University Institute of Sacred Music in 1989-90. Westermeyer served as cantor (choirmaster-organist) of Ascension Lutheran Church, Riverside, Ill., in 1982-90, and was assistant pastor from 1986 to 1990. He was ordained in 1986.
He was choirmaster-organist for The Church of Our Saviour (Episcopal), in Elmhurst (1969-71); St. Luke Lutheran Church, Silver Spring, Md. (1966-68); Calvary Lutheran Church, Leonia, N.J. (1965-66); St. John's Episcopal Church, Lancaster, Pa. (1962-65); and Zion United Church of Christ, Chicago (1961-62). He was choirmaster at Grace Lutheran Church, Villa Park, Ill. (1971-82) and Bethel United Church of Christ, Elmhurst (1958-61).
He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association; the American Guild of Organists for whom he served as national chaplain for two terms (1991-1998); the American Society of Church History; the Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society; the Hymn Society of America for which he has been Editor (1985-1990) and President (1998-2000) and named as Fellow (2004); the Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Hymnologie; the Liturgical Conference, the Mercersburg Society, and the North American Academy of Liturgy.
Westermeyer earned the B.A. degree from Elmhurst in 1962, and the B.D. degree from Lancaster (Pa.) Theological Seminary in 1965. He received the S.M.M. degree from the School of Sacred Music, Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1966. Both the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees were earned at the University of Chicago (1974 and 1978). Additional study has been done at The Schola Cantorum, Concordia Theological Seminary (1966); the liturgical studies program at Notre Dame (1969); and CPE at Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Ill. (1983). He has had applied study in violin, organ, piano, voice and conducting.
He has written The Church Musician (1988, rev. 1997); With Tongues of Fire: Profiles in Twentieth-Century Hymn Writing (1995); Let Justice Sing: Hymnody and Justice (1998); Te Deum: The Church and Music (1998); The Heart of The Matter: Church Music As Praise, Prayer, Presentation, Story, & Gift (2001); Hymns for Lent (2003); Let the People Sing: Hymn Tunes in Perspective (2005); Rise, O Church: Reflections on the Church, Its Music and Empire (2008); and Hymnal Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2010).