Andrea Toven serves Ascension as the director of worship and media arts. She grew up in northwest Wisconsin, a Minnesota Vikings fan in the middle of “enemy territory”, and graduated from St. Olaf College in 1995 with a BA in Music. While at St. Olaf, she had the tremendous honor of playing bass and contrabass clarinets in the St. Olaf Band, bass clarinet in the St. Olaf Orchestra, and contrabass clarinet in the St. Olaf Clarinet Choir. She also sang first alto in the St. Olaf Cantorei, studied choral and instrumental conducting, played baritone saxophone in the St. Olaf Pep Band, and wrote music for the Band and Clarinet Choir.
Andrea took a fifth undergraduate year at UW-Milwaukee, studying medieval history and religious studies, and was named Outstanding Student in medieval history. This year was followed by four years of MDiv and MA-Church Music studies at Trinity Lutheran Seminary and Luther Seminary. At Trinity, Andrea was awarded the Holleque Scholarship in Church Music on the merits of her composition portfolio. She served her internship at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Richland Center, WI, in 2001-02. During her last year at Luther, Andrea undertook study abroad at Gladstone’s Library in Wales, where she researched the intersection of Celtic and Benedictine monasticism in early medieval England as a recipient of the Canon Symonds Scholarship. After returning to Minnesota from Wales, Andrea met a radio engineer named Shane, and they got married a year later. They spent time in Minnesota and Michigan and lived in Laramie, Wyoming, for several years before moving to California in March 2020.
Outside the church, Andrea loves cruising anywhere and exploring new-to-her places in England. Someday, she would like to pursue a Ph.D. in early medieval English church history, focusing on worship and liturgy in monastic communities. Andrea likes riding trains (her favorite is the 08:00 LNER service from London Kings Cross to York), eating lefse (Countryside from Blair, WI), watching soccer (Sunderland – Ha’way the Lads!), and speaking Norwegian (Bokmal). Her athletic non-prowess peaked when she bowled her Hebrew professor out for a duck in the annual Luther Seminary cricket match … and yes, she got extra credit points for that.