Stefanie Fiser Kleven, Minister of Music

“All God’s Creatures Have a Place in the Choir,” but who has a place in front of the choir? At
Peace Lutheran, we are very fortunate to have a human dynamo up in front! This month we are
featuring our Minister of Music, Stefanie Fiser Kleven, as a person who is living her vocation.

Stef, Eric, Henry and Leonard Kleven

Stef was born in Littleton, Colorado, raised by a mother who sang in Lutheran church
choirs and a father who played various musical instruments and worked as a church musician.
In addition, Stef’s grandfather held college positions and church music jobs in various
parts of the country. He taught voice, was a tenor soloist, choir director, and church choir
director. Stef’s grandmother would teach children’s choirs wherever the couple lived. Clearly,
falling into the role of a church musician must have seemed like the most natural thing in the
world for Stefanie.

Having attended St. Olaf College, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Vocal Music, Stef has
also taken graduate-level sacred and choral music classes at Luther Seminary and St. Thomas
University. She was an active member of the National Lutheran Choir for thirteen consecutive years
(2008-2021). She says that she has been exposed to a wide array of Lutheran music through her
experiences in that ensemble. In 2016, after teaching high school choirs for a few years, Stef was
hired at Peace Lutheran to be our Minister of Music when she wanted her life to take a different
path. In addition to directing our Adult Choir and Children’s Music Ensembles, Stefanie works with
Pastor Kjell to select liturgies and hymns and includes children and youth in musical aspects of
worship. This year we have an ensemble called Youth Music (upper elementary and middle school-aged
youth) and an ensemble called Music Workshop (elementary-aged kids). When the Adult Handbell Choir
is missing a member, Stef will generously step in and become a guest ringer as well!

When asked what she feels is her primary vocation, she says she sees it as a shepherd of faith
through music. “A while ago,” she explains, “I learned of the concept of faith being ‘caught not
taught,’ and I hope that through my teaching and actions, people may be inspired in their own walks
of faith.” Stef says that she is incredibly passionate about sharing the music of the church. She
has found joy, solace, peace, and comfort in her own life through singing hymns and songs, and she
strives to help others have similar exposures and experiences. “Any time I am sharing a song with
someone – child or adult – there is a chance that they will get to share it with someone else in
their future. To me, that is how ‘through the church, the song
goes on’.”

Stef says that the most joyful moments of her vocation are when she has had a
creative idea that has been a ‘success,’ either with a musical ensemble or by people having fun and
participating in an activity. She enjoys the entire process – looking through hymnals, playing
through music at the piano, making choices, deciding how to present and teach the music, rehearsing
it, and finally, sharing it with the congregation. That said, her vocation has its
challenges. It takes time to know people’s interests, commitment, and talents and to gain their
trust. “As humans we are flawed by nature, ever since Eve and Adam ate the apple from the tree of
knowledge,” she says. “We all make mistakes, and sometimes we hurt each other; I believe we are
called to do our best trying to live Christ-like lives and bringing our struggles to God in

Stef and her husband, Eric, married in 2017. They have two boys: Henry, 3 ½ and Leonard (six months) baptized at Peace. Only time will tell if these two lads follow the path of their mother, grandparents, and great-grandparents by making music in the church. In the meantime, we appreciate the work of our Minister of Music as she carries on the legacy of her parents and grandparents. Thank you, Stef!

From morn till set of sun, through the church the song goes on.”
from the lyrics of “Holy God We Praise Thy Name.”