A self-supporting association of, by and for musicians
serving UCC churches across the United States

Conference 2017 Workshops

Most workshops will be open to all and do not require advanced registration.
Some are offered twice to accommodate more participants.
One time slot each day is devoted to a performance track for which registration is required.
All participants will choose and attend one of the three tracks.

Performance Tracks 

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
11:15 am – 12:45 pm

Conference Vocal Choir (SATB)

Betsy Burleigh, Conference Choral Director

This is the choir that will rehearse and perform for the final Festival Worship Service on Wednesday evening. All voice parts are needed. Use this as an opportunity to step into the shoes of your choir members and see what singing is like on the other side of the baton. Learn rehearsal and interpretive techniques from a master. Attendance at all three sessions is essential.

Conference Handbell Choir

Griff Gall, Conference Handbell Director

This handbell choir will rehearse and perform for the final Festival Worship Service on Wednesday evening. All skill levels are welcome. Be prepared to think fast and learn quickly. Attendance at all three sessions is essential.

Organ Class (Limited to 12 participants)

Fred Graham, Presenter

Each day, Fred Graham will explore a different topic on the use of the organ in the worship service:

  1. Literature and Registration for Small Instruments
  2. Supportive Service Accompaniments
  3. Recent Publications for Organ

Planning variety and challenging oneself at the organ in terms of literature and tonal palette can be daunting if the instrument itself is limiting. Let’s explore some options. If the congregation is the “first choir” at worship, they deserve sensitive, supportive, clear leadership. Let us share hints on how to accomplish that goal. Even with a full cupboard of organ repertoire, there may be a hymn prelude or a toccata that has escaped your attention. Let’s explore together.

Open Workshops  

Sunday
Reading Session
3:00 – 4:30 pm

Board Favorites

Four members of the UCCMA board will share their favorite choral anthems. Come join the group when you arrive on Sunday afternoon.

Monday
Workshop Session I
9:30 – 10:45 am

'Tis a Gift to be Simple: Conducting with Clarity and Breath

Betsy Burleigh, Presenter

You can help your choir's ensemble and improve their tone by a simple approach to gesture. We'll learn how to connect the preparatory breath to hand motion and develop a natural swing of the arm from beat to beat in this workshop. Other conducting challenges will be addressed in response to the needs of the individuals in the group. A follow-up workshop is offered Tuesday morning.

African Drumming

Michael Ofori, Presenter

An exploration of West African hand drumming techniques. This workshop will highlight drumming as an expression of self and the spirit of community.

Shape Note Music of the Past and Present: Singing Practices and Resources

Megan Henderson, Presenter

If you've been scratching your head about those funny shapes in the Sacred Harp, now's your chance for a complete clarification! We will spend a little time learning the origin and practice of shape note music, but mostly dive right into singing old and newly composed pieces in the shape note tradition. This stirring repertoire is wonderful in church services (or in the concert hall).

Partially-Consenting Adults: Clergy-Musician Relations in the Local Church

Rev. Dr. J. Mary Luti, Presenter

When it works, it's terrific. When it doesn't work, it's... well, no fun. We all have stories. In this workshop, we'll describe some of the reasons things go wrong in the vital collaboration between clergy and musicians. We'll also describe some features of great working relationships and discuss ways to keep them strong.

Monday
Workshop Session II
1:45 – 3:00 pm

Children’s Music: Interview with Jane Money

Jane Money is the director of Boston City Singers children’s chorus. This is an interactive session that will give insight into your questions and concerns - part presentation, part Q & A. Questions can be turned in ahead of time via our website. http://bostoncitysingers.org/  

Beyond the Little Black Dots...Cultivating a Musical Handbell Choir

Griff Gall, Presenter

Handbell choirs can offer a meaningful way to participate in worship; the trick is, how do you make a group of novice handbell musicians sound like an expressive musical ensemble? This hands-on workshop will explore creative uses of handbells in worship and will focus on cultivating musical habits amongst volunteer musicians. We will explore repertoire selections that focus on musicality and techniques for teaching musical and healthful ringing practices.

Singing Polyphony Today!

Dr. Jameson Marvin, Presenter

Our current choral culture reflects homophony as the norm; composers recognize this trend and write primarily vertical music. For more than a generation it's been a rare event to hear Renaissance polyphony. CDs of "informed" performance have intimidated choral directors: "I might be wrong!" Large size seem to be a "wrong"; however, there are many techniques to get to the heart of Renaissance choral style today, and that is what we will discover in my workshop.

African Drumming (Repeat)

Michael Ofori, Presenter

Monday
Workshop Session III
3:30 – 4:45 pm

Empowering Song – An Artistic Blueprint for Social Change

Professor André de Quadros, Presenter

The Empowering Song is a musical approach that creates powerful conditions for personal expression and community building. This workshop will give participants an understanding of how to combine intense music-making and other art forms with joy, compassion, and creativity.

Singing Polyphony Today! (Repeat)

Dr. Jameson Marvin, Presenter

Shape Note Music of the Past and Present: Singing Practices and Resources (Repeat)

Megan Henderson, Presenter

Partially-Consenting Adults: Clergy-Musician Relations in the Local Church (Repeat)

Rev. Dr. J. Mary Luti, Presenter

Monday
Reading Session
4:45 – 5:45 pm

Publishers’ Music

ECS, Schirmer, MorningStar (SATB, SAB and 2-part mixed adult choirs)
Choristers Guild (Children and Youth)

Tuesday
Workshop Session I
9:30 – 10:45 am

Leading a Vocally Friendly Rehearsal

Betsy Burleigh, Presenter

The choir's sound is created in how we rehearse. We'll continue with our theme of simplicity from Monday morning’s workshop, now applied to rehearsal planning, sequence (what we rehearse and when) and techniques. We'll also continue the gesture work from the first workshop in leading simple, fast and efficient warm-up exercises.

Hospice Singing

Peter Amidon, Presenter

In this workshop Peter Amidon will alternate between leading participants in singing a cappella SATB songs used in hospice singing (music will be provided), and discussing how to form and sustain a hospice choir, and what is involved in a hospice sing. He will be joined by the JourneySongs singers, a local hospice singing group.

Alternative Worship Music Styles: A Panel Discussion

Jodi Hitzhusen, Mark Morgan, Willie Sordillo, presenters

Going beyond “praise music” and “contemporary Christian” music, this panel discussion will explore all aspects of doing music for worship that is not choir and organ based. What kinds of things are possible? Where do you find materials? How do you form an ensemble? Each presenter has long experience in varying types of music for worship, from jazz to world to folk to gospel and many genre in between. Come explore the vast possibilities of music for worship today!

Music by Self-published and Off-The-Beaten-Path Composers

Susan DeSelms, Presenter

Is the music offered by the major publishers leaving you wanting? Are you looking for something different? Susan will share music by Scott Perkins, J. R. Rogers, the Amidons and others who fly below the radar.

Tuesday
Workshop Session II
1:45 – 3:00 pm

Jane Money's Toolbox for the Children's Choir

Jane Money, Presenter

Rehearsal planning, techniques, and strategies for the children's choir - ways to cultivate sound, engage the young singer, etc.

Ring, Dance, Play: Orff Schulwerk and Handbells

Griff Gall, Presenter

Engaging children in creative music making is the core principal of Orff Schulwerk. This workshop will guide participants through musical explorations that can be used in worship, but are also captivating for youth. We will explore movement, improvisation, and create simple accompaniments for familiar hymns and children's worship songs.

Hospice Singing (Repeat)

Peter Amidon, Presenter

Children’s Community Musical Theater  as Church Ministry

Burns Stanfield, presenter

For over 20 years, Fourth Presbyterian Church in Boston has sponsored musical theater experiences for neighborhood children and youth, giving the church a vital connection to the families of its broader community. This workshop explores the story of this ministry, its lessons, and the basics of growing something similar in your own community

Tuesday
Workshop Session III
3:30 – 4:45 pm

Empowering Song – An Artistic Blueprint for Social Change (Repeat)

Professor André de Quadros, Presenter

Music for the Small Church Choir: Reading Session

Peter and Mary Alice Amidon, Presenters

This is a reading session from the Amidon’s own catalog of SATB music. Their original compositions and arrangements, which are fresh and new to the ear, are very accessible and adaptable to small choirs.

Alternative Worship Resources: Beyond the Hymn Book

Jodi Hitzhusen, Mark Morgan, Willie Sordillo, presenters

This panel discussion expands upon the Tuesday morning session.

Children’s Community Musical Theater  as Church Ministry (Repeat)

Burns Stanfield, presenter

Wednesday
Workshop Session I
9:30 – 10:45 am

Rehearsal Techniques: Finding Vocal Solutions to Real Musical Challenges

Betsy Burleigh, Presenter

Teaching the notes is step one, but do they sound good? In this third workshop we'll focus on real music with real challenges. Topics will include extremes of range & tessitura, sustained singing, intonation, dynamic variation, flexibility (coloratura), vocal timbres, and the specific nature of each voice part (SATB). Emphasis will be on practical solutions—thorny excerpts from common anthems and octavos will be "unpacked" and sung.

Children’s Music: ​Repertoire Selection and Teaching Resources

Jane Money, Presenter

Jane's repertoire suggestions and favorite teaching resources for various age groups. Where, and HOW to find the GOOD stuff…

Arranging: the Art of Making Old Songs New (Limited to 10 participants)

Nick Page, Presenter

By asking ourselves to find the heart of a song, its emotional core, we breathe new life into its old melodies. In this composition class we will rethink form, melody, modality, meter, rhythm, dynamics, range, style, and, most importantly, the element of “unseen things,” the song’s spiritual message. Registration required.

Empowering Song – An Artistic Blueprint for Social Change (Repeat)

Professor André de Quadros, Presenter

Wednesday
Plenary Session
2:15 – 3:30 pm

When Community Singing Comes Alive

Nick Page, Presenter

Buckminster Fuller, a deeply spiritual thinker, wrote “God is a verb, not a noun.” Nick Page’s workshop applies this credo to our congregational singing, showing techniques that will make the music come to life. Nick will offer many “take homes” and resources.


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