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Sacred Music Summer Conference

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Steeped in the Wesley tradition of "training minds and warming hearts," Virginia Wesleyan College's non-denominational Sacred Music Summer Conference offers continuing education opportunities for church musicians, worship leaders, music teachers, and all who are interested in the sacred arts. (Academic credit is available)

Conference Date: July 28-August 2, 2014

Available for your enjoyment, for Continuing Education Units (1 ceu per day), or Academic Credit.  Different rates and requirements apply.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Psalter: Taking Worship to the Gym – Martin Tel

4th-century church father Ambrose called the Psalter the “gymnasium of the soul.”  While it can be argued what he meant by “gymnasium,” we agree it was something other than “spa,” and yet worship planners seem bent on giving God’s people weekly spa sessions to the neglect of certain prayer muscles.

I.  All the Muscle Groups

Not every liturgy needs to exercise every muscle, but as worship planners we need to be aware of them and diligently pace those whom we lead. This session will consider two psalm-based liturgies to chart out liturgical movements modeled in the Psalter.

II.  Twisting with the Psalms

Many psalter songs are unwieldy and defy our tendencies to fit them with a single mode or melody.  We tend to break the psalm into smaller, palatable bits to fit our preconceived forms.  What if we submitted ourselves to the psalm instead?  A focus on Psalms 13, 22, and 73 to help congregations experience their dramatic twists.

III.  The Most Difficult Psalms

We may wonder how some psalms made the cut – if we suppose that each must be about ‘me.’   What if we discerned voices other than our own in the most difficult ones?  What is lost in worship when we banish these voices?

IV. Singing of Christ in the Psalms

The gospels and early church used the psalms to tell the story of Jesus Christ. Before hymns eclipsed psalmody, the Church sang the gospel with them.  How can we reclaim this tradition in ways the modern congregation can grasp?

Drumming – Lois Reese

I.  Percussion for Children

If you’ve previously attended Lois’ workshops, you’ll learn how to simplify those percussion ensembles for children ages 5-10.

II.  Groovy Stories

Take the morning’s ensembles and apply them to your favorite Bible stories and literature to create musical presentations for worship or camp.

Orff at Church – Scott Foxwell

III. Gems from the Past

A recap of high points.

IV.  Getting the Most from a Little

Whether you have few instruments, few children, or little time, making the most of what you have will be a snap.

Keyboards and Choirs – Larry Shackley

I. Cracking the Chord Code

Learn the most common chord symbols and how to use them to create simple accompaniments. With the handout you’ll be able to analyze and play HALF of today’s current worship songs.  End the intimidation!

II.  Choral Anthem Reading Session

Shackley introduces personal favorites of his anthems and those of other composers.

III. Choral Anthem Reading Session

New choral releases from a variety of publishers.

IV.  Old-Fashioned, New-Fangled or Blended:  Tips for Better Service Playing

No matter your church’s music style, learn how to play more effective introductions, fill in ‘blank spots’ in the service, create ‘chord loops,’ and master the most common modulations.

4pm Bonus  - Larry Shackley

“Inside the Publishing Business” – Join composer/editor Larry Shackley for an informal discussion of how a choral or keyboard manuscript goes from the idea stage to publication, including the “do’s & don’t’s” when sending manuscripts for publication.

Evening Event – 7:30pm

“Then Sings My Soul”

A “Community Sing” led by Dr. Ysaye Barnwell.  All become the ‘choir’ in a great evening of celebration. (Heritage United Methodist Church, 815 Baker Road, Virginia Beach.  Donations accepted; open to the public.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Worship – Lester Ruth

I & II. Considering Contemporary Worship Beyond Worship Wars

What is contemporary worship, how has it changed, and what are we to do with it since a truce has now been called in the worship wars of previous decades (or so says Christianity Today).  Consider the ins, outs, ups, and downs by considering it pastorally, historically, and theologically.

III & IV. Enriching Worship Regardless of Style

Too often in recent years, debates about worship style dominate discussions about worship in many congregations.  Focusing too tightly on style, means that critical issues can be overlooked.  Explore practices and perspectives that ought to be found in all vibrant, strong Christian worship.

The Children’s Choir – Heather Potter

I. I’m Only a Volunteer!  Strategies When You’re Short on Time

Ideas to help volunteer or part-time directors efficiently manage a choral program and plan interesting rehearsals

II.  Building Tone in Young Singers

Strategies for teaching children to sing well.

III.  Avoid the Avoidable: Planning and Procedures to Maximize Rehearsals

Many rehearsal time-wasters can be avoided. Examine a few and discuss ways around them.

IV.  Repertoire for Beautiful Singing (Reading Session)

Investigate the characteristics of quality repertoire for children as well as the relationship between repertoire and healthy singing.

How Sings My Soul? – Patricia Saunders Nixon

I & II. Gospels & Spirituals

A look at the traditional root of spirituals and gospel music.

The Voice – Billye Brown Youmans

III. Vocal Master Class – 1, 2s, 3s & More

Solo singers and ensembles will enjoy personal coaching with a focus on breathing, tone, ensemble singing and the message we send when we share in worship.

IV. Maintaining a Youthful Voice

Helpful tips to be your best for as long as possible (for your own singing or to aid your choirs).

4pm Bonus – Heather Potter

Children as Worship Leaders: The Children’s Choir for the 21st Century

Will opportunities for active worship leadership reshape our view of the church children’s choir?

Evening Event – 7:30pm

“Let Heavenly Music Fill This Place 

A hymn festival presented by the American Organists Guild–Tidewater Chapter, featuring organists Martin Sunderland, Holly Sunderland, Antoinette Anglin, and Gustavo Andres (First Presbyterian Church, 300 36th Street, Virginia Beach.  Donations accepted; open to the public.)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Worship – Joe Stobaugh

I. The Art of Stationed Worship

It’s been part of the church’s worship arts for years, but experiencing a renaissance.  This highly visual session will offer examples of multi-sensory worship transcending all styles.

II. Keep To Keep Your Sanity & Creativity in a Multiple-Worship Environment

21st-century worship artists have a bewildering amount of responsibilities, often in mediums for which they’ve had no training.  Explore tools and ways of being that help you not just survive but thrive!

III. Things Not Covered in Conducting Lessons

Today’s worship artists contend with a wide range of ever-changing technology. Examine sound reinforcement, microphone placement, social media and projection for worship enhancement in both theological and practical ways.

IV. Enlivening the People’s Song with a Praise Band

It’s the church musician’s primary task: learn strategies to improve congregational singing in a contemporary musical setting.

Handbells – Cathy Moklebust

I. Basic Handbell and Handchime Techniques

Basic ringing and damping styles, basic techniques and their symbols in music notation.  (Bring gloves)

II.  New Handbell Music for 2-3 Octave Ensembles

The latest titles for handbells and handchimes.  (Bring gloves)

III.  Advanced Handbell Techniques

Multiple treble bell techniques, weaving, passing, bass bell techniques (below C4) and assignment possibilities, plus other advanced techniques.  (Bring gloves)

IV. New Handbell Music for 3-7 Octaves

Easy- to advanced difficulty levels.  (Bring gloves)

Your Brain on Music – Linda Maguire

I. & II. Healthy Breathing, Brain-based Strategies, and Vocal Techniques for Working with Adult Choirs

Learn a simple series of proven vocal techniques shown to increase cognitive function in older adults.  Posture, breath intake and outflow, facial bone resonance and tonal placement will result in a mind-body-spirit experience that will renew performance powers and satisfaction in worship.

Details for the Choir – Billye Brown Youmans

III.  BBY’s Choral Commandments

Simple “Thou Shalt” reminders to keep a music director smiling!

IV.  Dress for Success

And we don’t mean a 3-piece suit!   Learn how to run a successful and efficient dress rehearsal for those important worship or concert events.

4pm Bonus – Terry Lindvall

The Humor of Parables:  Understanding the Divine Joke

 Lindvall opens the playful nature of parables as both revelatory and exemplary ways of seeing our own lives in these short stories.

Evening Event – 7:30pm

“O That I Had a Thousand Voices”

Cathy Moklebust leads a massed handbell choir in festival worship through music and the spoken word with Michael Burkhardt, organist.   (Great Bridge Presbyterian Church, 333 Cedar Road, Chesapeake.  Donations accepted; open to the public.)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Choral Artistry – Bob Chilcott

I. Motivation Through Text

The use of text to shape the music

II. The Importance of a Broad Stylistic Palette

Engaging with singers through different styles, plus Chilcott’s experiences with jazz, early music and the King’s Singers.

III. Choral Anthem Reading Session

Including works of Chilcott and others.

IV. My Work with Youth Choirs

Working as composer and conductor, it’s a reciprocal arrangement for help and inspiration.

Organ – Michael Burkhardt

All sessions will take place in the Fine Arts building on campus.

I. Creating at the Keyboard

An introduction to hymn-based improvisation: core principles and practices.

II. Organ Repertoire – Tried, True & New

Using organ repertoire creatively in worship

III. With Hearts and Hands and Voices

Children in worship: preparing, praising, proclaiming, and praying.

IV. May I Have This Dance?

For Organists/Directors – the dance elements and vocal/keyboard gestures in congregational song.

Smaller Is Not So Bad After All! – Roger Dowdy

Worship Music for Congregation & Choirs

This two-part workshop explores music, patterns, and resources for congregations who gather in (relatively) small numbers.

I. Challenges, Advantages, Assessment, and Vision

Explore resources, budgetary support, physical space, accompanying instruments, and pastoral support

II. Exploring, Using, Singing and Praying

An overview of resources – both online and hard-copy, as well as audio resources for small congregations.

7:30pm:  ‘Finale’ rehearsal– the Wesleyan Festival Chorus in a concert of sacred classics under the direction of Bob Chilcott with Kevin Kwan, organist, and the Virginia Symphony Brass

Saturday, August 2, 2014

9:30am-12:30pm:  Wesleyan Festival Chorus rehearsal (led by Bob Chilcott)

Evening Event – 7:30pm

“Finale:  Sing to the Lord with Cheerful Voice”   

A concert of sacred choral classics featuring the 90-voice Wesleyan Festival Chorus under the direction of Bob Chilcott with Kevin Kwan, organist, and members of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.
 (Christ & St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 560 W. Olney Road, Norfolk. Open to the public; suggested donation - $10)


Full Conference - $289 (opening banquet, classes & materials for your registered sessions.  $75 deposit due with registration)

Single Day - $75 (includes classes & materials for your registered sessions.  Total fee due with registration)

Half-Day - $40 (includes classes & materials for your registered sessions.  Total fee due with registration)

Youth Rate - $30 (per day for high school/college students accompanying a participating adult)

Campus Housing - $40 per night (private room); $20 per night (shared room)

Basic Linen Package - $15 (or provide your own - extra-long twin beds);

Extra-Linens - $10 (pillow & light bedspread)

Off-campus housing is available at various nearby hotels.

On-campus meals

Breakfast (continental) - $5.00
Lunch - $7.00
Dinner - $9.00
(payable by cash or credit card in the cafeteria)

College Credit – 

UNDERGRADUATE credit through VWC (4 credits: $1,492 plus $40 application fee or $20 re-admit fee.  Contact the VWC Adult Studies Office at 757-455-3214 to register for MUS-310).   A 50% discount rate is available this year for teachers with active licensure in Virginia.

Bus transportation to Tues/Wed/Thurs evening off-campus events:  $25 (dorm residents have first-preference).  For the “Finale” rehearsals and concert, van transportation is provided for dorm residents at no charge.

For more information, email or call the CSM at 757.455.3376.

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