Why do we like the arts at Dove of Peace?

You could hear a lot of answers to this question if you ask around. But they might boil down to this: God loves beauty, and expressing beauty praises God.

We assert that the earth is God’s creation, so we know—right from the get-go—that God is into beautiful. Who knows that more than we do, living in this glorious desert, with mountains, sunsets, rain storms, wildflowers, and hummingbirds as part of our every day?

So we like to join in this “creating beauty” effort. One major way is music. We have staff musicians, and vocal groups, and a bell choir. Sometimes we have drums, maracas, vibraphone, piano, and even a Dixieland band for our Sunday services to mark Mardi Gras. We treasure the organ as a time-tested leader of group singing. We sing every chance we get, and often all five or six stanzas of a hymn. And our hymns are not only about praise; they teach, and console, and explain, and describe—AND praise. Our hymnal shows us that we’re part of a long history of the church: we’re the Now of today’s church, and probably we’re the Yesterday of tomorrow’s church. Music shows us our place in the parade.

Everyone can be part of the beauty that we create and celebrate here. Each person has a talent to contribute to the whole. Newcomers do not have to wait for an invitation to participate; if you love what is beautiful, and love to praise God, you’ll find your spot.


Or, as the old song puts it,


“All God’s chilluns got a place in the choir,
Some sing low and some sing higher,
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire,
And some just clap their hands,
or paws, or anything they got: Now!”


The Dove of Peace Chancel Choir sings three to four times a month from Labor Day to Memorial Day. During the season, rehearsals are on Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m.

Now seeking new singers! Our pipe organ expansion has made it one of the largest in Tucson! Consequently, Dove’s Chancel Choir, which regularly performs with the organ, and its acclaimed organist, UA Professor of Organ Pamela Decker, is looking to expand by an octet of dedicated volunteer singers: 2 of each voice part.

Led by Grammy-nominated conductor of True Concord Voices & Orchestra, Eric Holtan, Dove’s volunteer Chancel Choir presents anthems of the first rank from the sacred American and European traditions most Sundays, and regularly collaborates with True Concord’s musicians in presenting larger works at least twice each year.

Interested candidates should have strong, clear voices and possess good music-reading skills. Inquiries can be made with Eric at 520.887.5127 or by emailing Eric directly.

March 6, 2022 (First Sunday in Lent)


“Living Bread” by Gilbert Martin (b. 1941). Eric Holtan conducts, with Pamela Decker at the organ.

April 17, 2022 (Easter Sunday)


“All the Earth with Joy is Sounding,” by Herbert Howells (1892-1983) and arranged by Walter Pelz (b. 1926). Eric Holtan conducts, with Pamela Decker at the organ, joined with brass and congregational singing.


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Eric Holtan, Director of Music and Liturgical Arts

Pamela Decker, Organist

Dove of Peace recently expanded its Muller organ by Grahame Davis and Pipe Organ Artisans of Arizona.  This renovation, which has been called a 40-year tune-up, expanded the instrument’s versatility with additional pipes to accommodate the church’s growing musical needs.  On every Sunday, we have a very rich pipe organ presence, and we look forward to enjoying its expanded breadth for many more years to come!


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We don’t have some of the instruments mentioned in the Bible (it would surprise everyone to hear a timbrel, or a lyre, for instance) but we do use many instruments in worship. Our services highlight our Muller organ primarily, enriched with strings and brass and percussion on festivals.


The Chancel Choir contributes an anthem nearly every Sunday, and rehearses weekly. Like church choirs everywhere, this choir eagerly welcomes new members, of any voice range. No audition is necessary.

The Bell Choir usually plays one Sunday a month, and rehearses on Thursday evenings. You should be able to read music well enough to count, but the director patiently helps beginners to improve. That said, ringers at all levels of experience are welcome to appear at rehearsal.

At the 11 o’clock service, a Song Leader encourages the participation of all who are present, and is accompanied by piano. This is a service where spontaneity and improvisation are valued, so no one would be surprised to hear drums, or a flute—or maybe that timbrel.

All of the music is under the direction of Eric Holtan, one of Tucson’s premier professional musicians, noted for his excellence in innovative ensemble performance.


Visitors to Dove of Peace worship may walk into a room filled with people wearing red shirts, or red dresses, red ties, or even red tennies and wonder “What’s up?” It could be Pentecost Sunday, or maybe Reformation Sunday. And the jazz band in the center aisle? Well, that would be Mardi Gras Sunday. (We know that particular celebration should be on a Tuesday, but Sunday with a band and a big jambalaya lunch afterwards is just too tempting.)


Festival services in our worship life follow the seasons of the Church year: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and then some breathing space Sundays known as Ordinary Time. (Those roughly correspond to December, January, February/March, April, May, and then the months till December comes around again.)


Each of these has its own flavor, if you will. Each is marked with a different color in the adornments of the altar and participants: blue for Advent, white for Christmas and Epiphany, purple for Lent, white for Easter, red for Pentecost and green for Ordinary Time. Most Christians who use the Church year as a way to mark time have a favorite season; even Lent, a season for reflection and penitence, has its fans.

The start of a season means a festival or special service, and that means special music. (Or wearing a red tie if it’s Pentecost Sunday.) For us, special means more instruments, professional singers, dramatic readings, processions, and even releasing doves. Whatever the music, we join with the long procession of Christians across the ages who have celebrated these festival days in their own centuries. We’ll sing with fervor whether it’s the Swedish favorite “I am so glad each Christmas Eve,” or the German chorale that starts Advent, “Wake, awake, for night is flying,” or the great American spiritual at the wondrous moment when Lent rolls into Easter: “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”

The special music associated with the seasons of the Church year gives us, as the saying goes, “both roots and wings.”


Our congregation’s love of music, and its servant heart come together in the classical concert series. Between January and May, we sponsor four classical programs of chamber music performed by professional musicians. String quartets, piano sonatas, guitar solos sound wonderful in our beautiful, acoustically live space. And these concerts are free admission, because we pay the musicians. Could you ask for more?

There is more, because at each of these concerts, a free-will offering is collected, and the entire amount given to a local organization that builds our community: Habitat for Humanity, Interfaith Community Services, TIHAN, Emerge Women’s Shelter, Youth on Their Own, and so forth. These offerings usually amount to $1,500 to $2,000 at a time. We fill the space to capacity, which means that those dollars come from the grateful hearts of an audience whose love of the music inspires their benevolence. Beauty and benevolence together—a perfect duet.


We invite you to explore the beauty, connection, shelter, purpose, and thought that are at the heart of Dove of Peace Lutheran Church. Whether you are seeking fellowship and worship, a safe and nurturing space, guidance and encouragement on your journey of faith, or opportunities for thoughtful contemplation and discussion, you will find them here. Come and be a part of our loving and welcoming community.