Our 2018 seminars will provide both theoretical background as well as practical information that you can take back to your ministries. Enjoy learning and growing together … and hey, maybe even a little bit of fun, too!
Seminar titles, descriptions, and offerings are subject to change.
As of February 23, 2018:
So You’ve Been Drafted to Direct the Choir. HELP! — Daniel Craig
This session will cover an introduction to conducting. Participants will learn and practice basic conducting patterns, dynamics, cut-offs, and cueing. Then we will apply our skills to an easy anthem. This session is designed for those who have never directed or who have been drafted to help when the director is away.
Pat Your Head and Rub Your Stomach! — David Donathan
Sometimes, trying to conduct from the piano or the organ console can feel like this. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Church musicians are regularly asked to lead a rehearsal from either the piano or the organ. In this class, participants will learn subtle ways to do this so the rehearsal can be successful. Topics will focus on using your head and upper body to indicate breathing, line, phrasing, cut-offs, etc. This will be a studio learning environment so in addition to talking about these subtleties, each participant is asked to bring 10 copies of a song/anthem to rehearse with the class. NOTE: This class will meet for two sequential sessions.
Vocal Health for the Conductor and Singer — Cari Earnhart
Time and again as conductors we feel the strain on our voices at the end of a rehearsal. At the same time, we often work with singers, both amateur and trained, that complain of vocal fatigue, sore throats or loss of voice. This session will discuss potential issues that arise for both the conductor and the singers and ways to prevent them.
Using Conducting Gesture to Enhance Ensemble Artistry and Promote Healthy Singing — Cari Earnhart
The conductor’s gesture directly relates to the sound result we hear. Far too often conductors rely on their words instead of using their gesture to describe their sound ideal for a piece. What happens in a performance when you can’t speak to them? We often forget that if we are rigid or tense with our gesture, the sound we receive from our ensemble reflects that. This session will discuss/show how to enhance the artistry of the music through the gesture while at the same time promoting healthy, well-supported singing.
If You Build It, They Will Come — Cari Earnhart
This session will discuss how to grow your ensemble. Everyone wants to be a part of something that is not only fun, but challenging and rewarding. Through repertoire selection, invigorating your rehearsal time and meeting your singers where they are you will inspire your singers. In turn, you will find that you retain more constant numbers and others will want to join.
Let’s Get Moving: Physically Active Choral Rehearsals — Andrew Minear
Whether just warming up, or putting the finishing touches on the music before a performance, movement in the choral rehearsal activates the body-mind and makes learning fun! By incorporating strategies from this session, choral conductors can enhance phrasing, clarify articulation, and develop a language of gestures that will facilitate the nonverbal communication between conductors and singers both in rehearsal and on stage. Attendees at this session will experience a variety of physically-engaging methods to teach vocal technique, develop musicianship, and encourage freedom of expression.
The Secret of Singing is in the Breathing — Andrew Minear
With healthy breathing habits, choirs of all ages and skill levels can achieve beautiful tone, impeccable intonation, and expressive phrasing. This session will provide a variety of practical breathing exercises, vocal warm-ups, rehearsal techniques, and conducting gestures that will transform the way the singers in your choirs use their air and make the music come alive. We will discover how the human body works as we explore both the physical and spiritual aspects of breathing.
The Creative Conductor: An Empowering Method to Achieve Choral Excellence — Andrew Minear
Creative conducting accelerates achievement of rehearsal goals and provides an expansive gestural vocabulary for real-time communication in performance. In this session, we will explore the gestural variables that conductors can manipulate to influence vocal technique, navigate meter, cue entrances/ releases, shape phrases/ dynamics, and affect choral tone, style, and articulation. Emphasis will be placed on expressive elements, legato line, and integration of left hand. All levels of conductors will benefit as they review fundamentals, employ practical conducting exercises, and think about our role as conductors in new ways.
It’s Gesture, Not “Guessture”: Embodying the Music for Clear Conducting — Alicia Walker
The non-verbal communication of the conducting gesture is an important tool for helping our choir sing beautifully and expressively. This session will address ways we can reinforce what we say to our singers with expressive, clear conducting.
Building Beautiful Tone with Your Choir — Alicia Walker
This session will offer ideas and methods for helping church choir singers continue to develop vocally. Through the warmup sequence, rehearsal techniques, and repertoire selection, we have avenues for cultivating the choir’s most beautiful sound, as well as the singers’ long term vocal health.
Pacing Rehearsals for Engagement, Education, and Edification — Alicia Walker
The once-a-week church choir rehearsal is a concentrated opportunity to energize volunteers to continue to grow and learn. Pacing the rehearsal so that these volunteers are motivated to be present consistently, and to develop their talents, is often connected to their sense of calling. This session will address ways to bring these important aspects of the volunteer church choir together for a rehearsal experience that is rich both musically and spiritually.
Sound Unity: Strategies to Develop a Consistent Unified Choral Sound — Welborn Young
A beautifully unified and malleable choral sound that is stylistically consistent and expressive is central to the best performances of any ensemble. The singer’s innate ability, training, experiences, and feelings influence their understanding of a beautiful singing voice. In this presentation I endeavor to clarify the meaning of sound unity and introduce strategies toward developing sound unity for choral ensembles of all constituencies amateur, professional, church or civic.
Singing as Sensation: Developing a “Sensational” Singing Vocabulary — Welborn Young
Essential to developing a vibrant expressive choral sound in our ensembles is the ideal that singers can confidently recreate the sounds requested of them at the right time. Singing is a physical act dependent on sensations. Central to this topic is the idea that is a vocabulary of sensations can be developed in your singers. This vocabulary can then be transferred across other works and styles thus accelerating the learning process.
Choral Singing as Transformation: Why Are We Here? — Welborn Young
From our earliest ages to the veteran moments in our lives, choral singing brings a depth and breadth to our lives. What is this contribution to our communities, churches, to each other and ourselves that keeps us making music? The moment a conductor and choir communicate beyond what’s on the written page, lives change. We will explore the ideas of why we are making music as we look at text, context and the rehearsal process.
Children and Youth Choral
The FUNdamentals of Choirs in the Church — Andrea Baxter
Explore the primary purpose of children’s choirs in the church, including helping singers to understand that each is a loved child of God, called to use the gift of music to love and serve others. Included are FUN ways to get these concepts across so that children learn and grow without even knowing it!
Bible Stories as the Impetus for Musical Creativity in Worship — Andrea Baxter
Children are a full and equal part of the body of Christ when we gather to worship, but how do we as leaders draw them into fuller participation or even worship leadership roles? Explore bible stories and how they offer an opportunity for the creative use of musical, rhythmic, and dramatic tools.
Anthems that Work for Use with Intergenerational Choirs — Andrea Baxter
The church is one of the few places left in our culture where multiple generations can not only be together, but worship and learn together. Read through anthem that can provide an opportunity for combining choirs sot that children have a rich choral experience, and adults are renewed by the energy and joy that children bring.
Everything Is Connected: Ideas for Introducing a New Song to Young Singers — Tom Shelton
We all have our individual teaching styles when introducing new music. Sometimes we lose our creativity, fall into a “rut”, and introduce new songs the same way every time. This session will explore creative ways to introduce a new song to young singers; focusing on multiple learning styles (aural, visual, kinesthetic) and incorporating musical literacy. Each participant will receive a packet of 6 songs appropriate for the church setting. Each piece will be introduced in a different way, using warm-ups, sight-reading exercises, games and movement activities.
The Role of Children’s Choirs in Sacred Spaces — Tom Shelton
This session will introduce creative ways for the children’s choir to be “leaders” in worship versus “performers” in the worship service. Introits, Prayer Responses, Anthems, Benediction Responses and other service music will be presented. The idea of “framing” will be discussed, which allows the children to participate, lead, and be an integral part of the service — instead of becoming a performance slot or a “fill in the blank” anthem that does not enhance the worship experience.
Children Leading Worship: Choral Repertoire for the Church Seasons — Tom Shelton
A reading session of old and new pieces specifically selected for children’s choirs that are appropriate to use in worship throughout the church year.
Choral for Youth/Young Adult Attendees
Information to come.
Going to the Next Level: Helping Your Ensemble Play More Musically — Michael Helman
This class is for both directors and ringers and will help you to work towards a more musical presentation. We will be discussing techniques and some score study.
Handbell Composing and Publishing 101 — Michael Helman
This interactive class will discuss some rudiments of arranging for handbells and preparing your piece for to submit for publication.
Making Sense of All Those Black Dots: Rudimentary Music Theory for the Amateur Musician — Michael Helman
What do all those black dots on the page mean and how are they organized? What do some of these other symbols mean and why are they there? We will explore some basic music theory to help you be a better ringer.
Making Great Music with Fewer Hands: Small Ensemble Ringing — Kath Wissinger
Ensemble ringing requires flexibility, courage and teamwork — coordinating closely with 2 or 3 other ringers. We will focus on a few easy/intermediate pieces written in different layouts that cover a wide range of bells with just a few ringers. Use of weaving and mallets, sharing, deranging bells, bell trees, adding chimes and more will be noted.
More Bells for Me! The Power of 4iH — Kath Wissinger
Playing more than 2 diatonic bells (adding accidentals or another position) requires a little fancy “footwork.” We will explore the basics of multiple bells in hand and different 4iH (Four-in-Hand) set-ups – and how to determine when to use each to best advantage.
Mastering Mixed Meter — Kath Wissinger
So much wonderful handbell music is written in mixed meter these days. Let’s learn how to decode this bumpy ride and stay on top of the shifting pulse. With the use of progressive exercises and visual aids, you will become confident to tackle any mixed meter piece!
New and Renewed Organ Literature — Mark Mummert
Are you tired of playing the same organ literature over and over in worship? Would you appreciate some suggestions of new or renewed organ literature to spice up your repertoire? Come and explore some organ works to add to your practice and worship schedule in the coming year.
Leading Assembly Song with Confidence and Creativity — Mark Mummert
The responsibility of the organist in worship is primarily to lead the assembly in singing. Come discover techniques at the organ that will enliven congregational singing. Consider in this seminar the diverse variables that need to be addressed when making decisions about assembly song leadership.
Lessons in Organ Lessons — Mark Mummert
In order to provide musicians to lead worship in the future, we must make it a priority to teach organ playing skills to the next generation. Come consider methods for teaching organ playing skills to new students especially geared to those who will primarily be worship leaders.
Information to come.
Afro Jazz — Ronya-Lee Anderson
Melding various styles of West African dance, studio Jazz, and Jamaican folk dance, this class is characterized by syncopation, poly-rhythmic structures, and grounded transitions, as well as a call and response relationship between movement and music.
Landing 360: Grounding Movement Practice — Ronya-Lee Anderson
Drawing on the principles of House dance culture, West African dance, American social dance, and Improvisation, this workshop guides students through continuous movement, finding periods of both personal and collective bodily experience, as well as spiritual reflection while exploring various qualities and choices.
Choreographic Tools — Ronya-Lee Anderson
Students will explore different avenues for movement generation including, but not limited to text, guided improvisation, partnering, and videography with an emphasis on weight and connectivity.
Easter Choreography To Go — Linda Caldwell
Easter Worship Services are always so beautiful and can touch the depths of our souls through word, song, instruments, movement, etc. Illustrating the message of Lent and Easter through visuals and movement brings a much deeper dimension to the meaning of this special time of year. Participants will learn how to guide the Congregation to FEEL the message through the use of meaningful props, color and dance.
Mixed-Somatics and Mindfulness — Carrie Gerow
Through clear yet gentle movement alongside an anatomically-based narrative, we cultivate a pleasant presence in our work. What kind of movers can we be when directing ourselves with an eye toward efficiency and ease through a lens of fascination and delight with our anatomy? What spiritual wisdom is housed in the physical body, awaiting our discovery and application in the world beyond? How do the mind and spirit change after the body has been worked well and with clarity? No previous experience is necessary. A mat or blanket is nice to work on. Wear comfortable clothing suited to easy movement. NOTE: This class will meet for two sessions. Participants can come to one or the other and enjoy a quality experience, but also have the option of doing both for a deeper connection to the work.
Softening the Body to Soften the Spirit — Carrie Gerow
This workshop offers participants an experience in using movement to calm and open the body as a pathway toward a present, receptive spirit. We will observe how physicality is used across cultures and faiths to prepare the spirit for availability to commune with God. Through observation of our own body language and stance, we will find clues to places of resistance in becoming “porous” to God’s overtures. We will surround ourselves with the words and voices of wise disciples as we practice an open physical stance designed to unlock and release what may be separating us from intimacy with Christ. We will explore many postures: seated, standing, eyes both open and closed, gentle rocking and subtle shaking motions. Participants will leave the workshop with a menu of options to incorporate into their own prayer, worship and quiet time. No previous experience is necessary. Wear comfortable clothing.
From the Crown of Your Head to the Soles of Your feet: Liturgical Technique — Ruth Singletary
A wonderful seminar for all worship dancers — beginner through advanced — to hone our skills as ministers of dance. We always need to strive for excellence in our gifts from God. If dance is your gift, this is the seminar for you!
Dance (for Fun!)
“Dancercise” 50s Style — Linda Caldwell
Come join in the fun and get a great workout at the same time! This session will offer an innovative and invigorating option to dance exercise. Participants of all ages will learn a “Dancercise” routine to a 50s style Contemporary Worship tune. Let’s get our hand jive and Charleston moves on!
Ballroom Dancing: Waltz — Shari Huggett-Milton
Learn the basic pattern, lead and follow skills, of the ballroom waltz. Learn to glide effortlessly. This waltz is punctuated with lavish movements, turns, and spins. Having a partner is not necessary to take this seminar. Wear comfortable and smooth-bottom shoes.
Ballroom Dancing: Salsa — Shari Huggett Milton
A seminar to learn basic patterns, lead and follow skills of LA-style Salsa. Learn to shift body weight along with upper body control. Arms and shoulder movements are also incorporated. While a partner is helpful, it is not necessary to take this seminar. Wear comfortable clothes and smooth-bottom shoes.
Kickin’ It For Christ — Ruth Singletary
We will explore different styles of line dancing including Country, Latin, Charleston and more! No experience necessary.
Theatre in Worship
Information to come.
Visuals in Worship
Visual Hospitality — Les Oliver
The church spends a lot of time planning coffee hour and making sure that guests and members have a cordial space for fellowship. This can be an amazing time in church life. But can we also talk about the silk lilies that Ms. Beulah put on the altar table for Easter … in 1994? What visual effect does your church have from parking lot to the final Amen? Let’s talk!
Making the Invisible Word Visible — Les Oliver
There is a more than 70% retention rate for worship services that include visual components. As visual design artists we are called upon to make sure this happens, both three-dimensionally and sometimes electronically. Our challenge is to make the invisible Word visible. Together we’ll discover the intrinsic artistry in Scripture.
Writing Prayers for Worship — Barbara Day Miller
Engaging images from Scripture, we will practice writing brief prayers for worship using the classic collect form. NOTE: This class will meet for two sequential sessions.
Worship Planning Perspectives: Musician and Pastor — Barbara Day Miller and Alice Rogers
With particular roles in worship leadership, pastors and musicians approach the planning process from different points. How can these perspectives enrich our preparation for worship by the gathered community?
The Contexts of Preaching — Barbara Day Miller and Alice Rogers
This workshop will explore the multi layers of context which inform the practice of preaching.
Information to come.