Conference 2021 Schedule & Workshops

The one-hour workshops on Friday and Saturday will consist of a 45-minute video followed by a 15-minute live Q&A with the presenter. All sessions will be recorded and the entire conference will remain available online for one month. So feel free to enjoy what you can in real time and catch up later on anything you might have missed.

Times are Eastern Time (ET)

Schedule  Workshops & Events


Evening Session

7:00 - 7:15 PM   Welcome

7:15 - 9:15 PM   Anthem Reading Session

J.W. Pepper will present reading sessions of favorite choral anthems chosen by four members of the UCCMA board.

9:00 - 9:30 PM  Afterglow Social Time

Catch up with your colleagues!


8:45 - 9:00 AM   Morning Worship

Worship bulletin is available on the event website.

Friday Morning


9:00 AM   Sing of a Blessing - Miriam Therese Winter

Blessings abound. Always. In all ways. We need to develop a capacity to discern the song of the Spirit within the chaos of our quantum universe. Divine and human energies merge melodically, rhythmically, spiritually when we come together to sing of hope, love, peace, compassion, and universal justice. When the song ends, its vibrant energy lives on into eternity. Come and experience such a blessing with me.

10:00 AM   What Are Those Funny Looking Handbell Symbols? - Lawrence Berdensey
Ever wonder what those odd looking symbols are in handbell music? This workshop will address basic handbell techniques, a variety of articulations, their symbols and how to perform them properly.

11:00 AM   Musical Treasures for the Organ: Something Old, Something New, Something Ghoul! - Dr. Angela Salcedo

Get ready to be dazzled with new organ literature for worship and secular performances that span the seasons of the church year. Repertoire will entail compositions based on favorite tunes, old and modern, with newly inspired harmonies and colorful registrations, arrangements of spirituals, ceremonial processionals, freestyle works and music for All Hallows Eve! These musical treasures may be future heirlooms -- a must have in the organist's library.

Lunch Break

12:00 PM   Main Street Glastonbury: A Walk with Kasha Breau  

Grab your lunch and explore the historic homes and sites of our host town, Glastonbury, Connecticut.

Friday Afternoon


1:00 PM   New Worship Platforms: Reimagined Concepts - Susan Aziz

Worship in congregational settings have traditionally been "cattle car" affairs, with people sitting in pews focused on the activities on display in the front of the room. What happens when you change that perspective and create areas of focus that are different and more engaging? Particularly emphasizing spatial and visual elements in worship? Jim Boratko and Susan Aziz will discuss and demonstrate how this change in perspective can bring new life to age-old stories through the creative use of worship space and puppetry.

2:00 PM   Exploring the Jazz of Spirituals - Joe Utterback  

Dr. Joe Utterback will demonstrate the variety of styles and rhythms found in a selection of American spirituals from the Harry Burleigh Collection, Songs of Zion and other sources. He will show how to enhance them for use in worship and will make available a handout of his own arrangements of spirituals for you to use.

3:00 PM   Global Hymnody in North American Worship - Patrick Evans

Bodies of believers across the world engage in worship through the expression of their own traditions and ways of life, yet there is a universality to this practice that we all share. In this workshop, we will explore this concept in hymnody and go to places that may have been previously neglected.

4:00 - 5:30 PM  Improvisation: A World of Possibilities - Jeffrey Brillhart

Yes, you CAN learn to improvise at the organ (or piano!) This workshop will explore myriad ways of taking melodic material used in worship services to create interludes, introductions, meditations, preludes, and postludes. In a supportive and encouraging atmosphere, we will explore improvisation techniques that even the beginning organist can successfully execute.

5:30 - 6:30 PM   Dinner Break

Friday Evening Session

6:30 - 8:00 PM   Conference Choir Rehearsal - Gabriel Löfvall

Learn how to conduct a virtual choir rehearsal by participating in one. You will be the choir for Gabriel Löfvall as he rehearses the following anthems: Salmo 150 (Aguiar), I Give to You a New Commandment (Nardone), In My Father’s House (Stopford)Come to the Music (Martin).

8:00 - 9:30 PM   Concert Program

The program will feature video and music excerpts from Paul Winter's Summer Solstice Events and other concerts. Included are beautiful wooded and nature scenes, many from Connecticut, and live music from Paul Winter's barn/studio in Litchfield, CT. Also performing will be Chorus Angelicus directed by Gabriel Löfvall, Hockanum Valley Ringers directed by Lawrence Berdensey and UConn's Voices of Freedom directed by Rev. Lisa Clayton.

9:30 - 10:00 PM   Afterglow Social Time

It's been a long day! Wind down and relax with your colleagues.


8:45 - 9:00 AM   Morning Worship

Worship bulletin is available on the event website.

Saturday Morning Workshops

9:00 AM  Bold Composing in a New World - Keith Hampton

Composing is not a static exercise in arranging notes. It is organically connected to what is happening around us and in our world. We'll take a look at how the pandemic has changed our compositional voices and how to express new realities musically.

10:00 AM   Rethinking and Developing New Paradigms for our Children's Choirs -- Gabriel Löfvall

Originally founded in 1991 by Paul Halley, Chorus Angelicus has developed into an award winning children's chorus that has performed in collaboration with Paul Winter, the Hartford Symphony, and many other artists. They have performed widely in Connecticut, regionally at Boston Symphony's Music Hall and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, nationally in Florida and the Pacific Northwest, and internationally in Canada, Spain, and Ireland. Current artistic Director, Dr. Gabriel Löfvall, DMA, will describe the program, how it functions, and its plans for the future, as choral not-for-profits adapt to new paradigms in a post-pandemic world.

11:00 AM   New Heartbeats: A Worldly Approach to Congregational Rhythm - Michelle Horsley

In this session we will discuss different approaches for diversifying congregational repertoire and fostering musical involvement at a variety of levels. We'll look at hymnody examples from various cultural traditions and how to incorporate world music into worship in ways that are honest, appropriate, and engaging.

Lunch Break

12:00 PM   Biennial Meeting of the United Church of Christ Musicians Association

Grab your lunch and join us to learn about UCCMA and attend the installation of new board members.

Saturday Afternoon Workshops

1:00 PM   Rebuilding our Choirs Post-COVID Using the Lessons We Learned - Walden Moore 

A presentation on the challenges that we've faced with our choirs and the music in our church programs during the pandemic, and what we can do to bring our congregational singing and choir work back to the vitality needed when it is possible. We'll also look at what we've learned during the pandemic, and what of those lessons and techniques can serve us well for the future. This session will be presented entirely live as a group discussion.

2:00 PM   Singing in the Gospel Music Tradition - Rev. Lisa Clayton

Gospel Music is a music born from the musical traditions of African Americans. In this workshop we will briefly trace the beginnings of Gospel Music and answer the question why is Gospel Music different from Negro Spirituals. Rev. Lisa Clayton, director of the University of Connecticut’s Voices of Freedom Gospel Choir for the past 26 years, and her team will demonstrate rehearsal techniques while teaching a gospel song.

3:00 PM   Bird Walk and T'ai Chi Chih with Kasha Breau

Relax, take a mental break, and enjoy exploring wildlife near the Connecticut River with church musician and animal rehabilitator Kasha Breau.

Saturday Closing Worship

4:00 - 5:20 PM   Closing Festival Worship Service

Featuring the Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, UCC General Minister and President, as preacher. The service will also include organ improvisations by Jeffrey Brillhart, the winning hymn in UCCMA's hymn competition by Amanda Udis-Kessler, Chorus Angelicus directed by Gabriel Löfvall and the Hockanum Valley Ringers directed by Lawrence Berdensey.

Worship bulletin is available on the event website.

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