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Henry Schellenberg

Announcement: A Memorial Fund For Music Education has been established in Dr. Schellenberg's name. Follow this link for more information and to contribute.

On Wednesday February 20, 2013 at 11:35am, Henry Schellenberg died and passed into the hands of his loving Lord after an intense and courageous battle with cancer. Please pray for his family in this time of grief.

Henry Schellenberg (1952 - 2013)

It is with deep sadness that Providence University College and Theological Seminary marks the passing of our beloved friend, colleague, and teacher Dr. Henry Schellenberg, a longtime member of our institutional family. Henry joined the faculty at Providence in 1983, teaching choral and church music, liturgy, conducting, voice, and music history. For almost thirty years, he served students and shared his music with the wider community, performing and conducting not only on campus but also in churches and music halls around the world. His own music studies took him from Winkler Bible Institute to Brandon University, Southern Methodist University, and on to the University of Iowa where he completed his Doctorate in 1996.

As members of the Providence family remember Henry, it is his love for the music of the church that often comes to mind. His warm baritone voice and lively conducting added so much to major events on campus like banquets and graduations, and also to the worship life of the school. Our thoughts also turn to the Bible that informs so much of the music he shared with us. John the Seer is one of Christianity's first and greatest hymnists and on one occasion he describes a diverse multitude that no one could count, comprised of worshippers from every nation lending their voices to the angels’ songs. The scene is a little intimidating for those of us convinced they have nothing to contribute musically to such a magnificent gathering, and yet the resulting sound captivates the prophet and what is more, is welcome in the very throne room of God. Henry, of all people on the Providence campus, understood one of the great lessons stemming from the scene. Not only does each one of God’s creatures—regardless of background, regardless of skill—have a voice with which to praise their maker, that voice is meant to sound out along with the rest of creation. With each new school year Henry set out to cajole, encourage, and yes, even pester (!) a new group of students to participate, to make their way into audition rooms and then into the music department’s ensembles and choirs. Their individual abilities varied but under Henry’s tutelage the whole inevitably proved much greater than the sum of its parts. Those fortunate enough to have heard any of his choirs—whether on campus, in area churches, at music festivals, or at one of the many host venues during tours throughout North America and the United Kingdom—will no doubt agree.

In the summer of 2012, former and current students organized and gathered to celebrate Henry’s life, bringing together several generations of his singers to share stories, tears, laughter, and song. (Follow this link to view highlights of this event.) Henry was vibrant that evening, ‘taking the helm’ of this unrehearsed, impromptu gathering of fifty or so friends. He conducted with enthusiasm and clearly enjoyed the outpouring of goodwill and boisterous, heartfelt worship. For many of us fortunate enough to have worked with him, this occasion and others like it will stay with us as a beautiful memory of a life well lived. Scenes that mixed artistic professionalism, humour, joy, and a delight in being with God’s people, celebrating as one with the friends he loved, bringing diverse voices together in hymns of praise. “They are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.”

Tribute written by Michael Gilmour, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of New Testament and English Literature
Providence University College

Read Henry Schellenberg's Obituary

A Memorial Service was held at Westminster Church (745 West­min­ster Ave., Winnipeg) at 7:30pm on Friday, March 1, 2013.


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