Meet Alyssa Schwitzer of Redeemer Lutheran Church. Alyssa sang at Zion on Global Mission Sunday this past May. Alyssa, along with Kent Goodroad, will be part of worship at Zion again on Sunday, July 15.
Being the daughter of a musician, I have been musical my entire life. I was born in Minnesota and have lived and performed all over the world, taking up residency in such cities as London, New York City, and Boston. I attended Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY where I studied classical voice/opera. Following my classical studies, I spent time at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. It was there that I studied contemporary styles such as R&B, Soul, Gospel, Pop, and Rock – all true passions of mine. I maintain an active performing and teaching career in the Twin Cities, but have also performed in Carnegie Hall, Orchestra Hall, The Guthrie, St. Peter’s Basilica, Basilica de Santa Maria del Fiore, Westminster Cathedral, Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica, Berklee Performance Center, House of Blues, and MN State Fair Grand Stand.
About a year ago I got back in contact with Kent Goodroad, an old friend of mine from high school. We quickly started writing music together and he eventually suggested I join him at Redeemer. His enthusiasm was impossible to resist, so I did. Following my first Sunday at Redeemer, Pastor Kelly and I chatted over coffee. He inquired about my life history, my goals, my dreams, what makes me happy, what moves me, what I have to offer to this world, etc. Then I remember him saying, “I’m in!”… and the rest is history. While Kent ushered me through Redeemer’s doors, Pastor Kelly encouraged me to accept and run with the multitude of opportunities Redeemer has to offer.
Redeemer is important to me because it proves time and time again that there can be a community (or outlet, or place, or idea, or faith) that is safe and encouraging, inspiring and thoughtful, open and passionate. I have always been drawn to open-minded, socially aware, positive, grounded, creative people. Redeemer has all of that! I know that my frame of reference has broadened significantly due to the community of people at Redeemer, Pastor Kelly Chatman, and the opportunities that have been presented to me. In the simplest sense, Redeemer is important to me because I get to be a part of an amazing community that lifts my spirits and makes me better. For me, anything that encourages one to do more and consistently practice mindfulness, thoughtfulness, kindness is so important.
Redeemer is quite a beacon in North Minneapolis. It is a place where everyone – regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, and economic standing – is welcome. This sense of equality and openness lends well to the community, offering a steady hand to any and all who need support, strength, or a sense of belonging.
Redeemer strongly encourages its members to contribute their gifts and talents. Programs such as the Redeemer After School Program and Redeemer Music Academy provide a positive, safe, and creative environment for the area youth. They specifically offer tutoring, structured play, individual and group music lessons, and cooking lessons. In a broader sense, these activities and challenges build up the confidence and sense of self-worth of the Redeemer youth. They begin to respect themselves and others as they grow more confident in who they are and what they have to offer in this world.
Redeemer lends a voice to the North Minneapolis community by talking openly about tough issues that exist not only in that neighborhood, but everywhere. As a community and church member, I admire all that Redeemer contributes towards social, racial, and economic justice. I know the North Minneapolis community feels like work is being done on their behalf and alongside their efforts. Redeemer is a wonderful place that continues to be nothing short of incredible.