Welcome Brian Schou, contemporary worship leader

News | July 27, 2023

Brian Schou has been a familiar face around St. Paul. He and his wife, Holly, along with their two sons, Cooper and Jackson, have been members for 14 years. He will begin his time at St. Paul as contemporary worship leader in late July.

Tell us about your family and background
I was born in Chicago, Illinois, but grew up in Rockford, Illinois. I was baptized and grew up in Alpine Lutheran Church (where my mother is still a member, as was my father until he passed away in 2014). During my high school years, I attended the synod youth convention, went on annual mission trips, participated in the Leadership Lab program, and served as a student representative on the Northern Illinois Synod Youth Ministry Task Force. I graduated from Augustana with a degree in English and Secondary Education. I also played saxophone in the band and jazz ensemble, and supplemented my work study income by playing in a blues band at Quad City establishments.

Both our children were confirmed at St. Paul. Cooper (24) went on to the University of North Texas where he earned a degree in Jazz Studies Performance. He lives in Davenport and plays music full-time, as well as teaching a few guitar and drum lessons. Open Spirit worshipers would recognize him from drumming at St. Paul periodically, and maybe even from drumming in Far Out 283, a popular local indie rock band. Jackson (21) occasionally plays in that band (and has also played for Open Spirit) Jackson is currently studying abroad in France before returning to his senior year at the University of Northern Iowa where he is a Global Studies major. He plays drums in the UNI Jazz Band One as well as his own band called Back Pocket.

What makes you, you?
A constantly piqued curiosity, a dry sense of humor, an unwieldy shoe collection, a staggering stack of books next to my bed waiting to be read, the tendency to quote song lyrics in everyday speech, and the inability to stop hitting the space bar twice after a period.

What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about education, especially understanding the power of words and discovering deeper meaning; I’m passionate about music as a tool for reaching diverse people and building community; and I’m passionate about my faith and nurturing a Christ-centered life of love and acceptance. To be able to combine all three of these passions in one job is a tremendous opportunity. In the words of St. Paul (and Timothy): “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16). That feels like a goal worth pursuing.

You’ve already spent time at St. Paul, filling in and leading Open Spirit, what excites you to be taking on the position in a regular leadership capacity?
I have had the pleasure of working with the Open Spirit team on enough Sundays to witness the talent, commitment, and soul they share with every song, and have experienced the transformative engagement and worshipful appreciation the St. Paul congregation sends in return. I am truly honored and humbled to be entrusted to uphold Open Spirit’s role as an integral component of the compelling worship that is a hallmark of St. Paul, and excited and energized to bring forward new rhymes and rhythms rooted in the love of Jesus Christ.


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