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Grandson of former Park Rapids pastor to perform Sunday on St. Johns organ

Dr. James Christian Nissen. (Submitted photo)

Performing at St. Johns Lutheran Church at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14 on the Berghaus pipe organ will be Dr. James Christian Nissen, a native of Ann Arbor, Mich.

Nissen is the grandson of Rev. C.J. Nissen, the pastor for many years at St. Johns, and a nephew of Marge Hawkins.

Nissen began his music studies on the trumpet at age 7. While still in high school he began organ lessons and was the organist at St. Andrew Redeemer Lutheran Church in Detroit.

He attended the University of Michigan, where he received his bachelor's and master's degrees in performance and composition,

studying with Dr. Marilyn Mason and the composer William Bolcom.

In 1984-85 he studied organ, composition and improvisation with Jean Langlais in Paris on a Fulbright Scholarship. In 1986 he received a scholarship to study composition at the Music Conservatory in Madrid, Spain.

He returned to the University of Michigan where he completed his doctorate in performance and conducting. He has performed concerts all over Europe, including Notre Dame (Paris), Chartres, and Coventry (England) Cathedrals.

He is currently the chair of the Humanities Department at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Mich. and on the Humanities and School of Education faculty at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

He is the conductor of the Ann Arbor Concert Band and the director of music at the First Congregational Church in Ann Arbor.