Consent Preferences

2024 EVENTS

Times are Eastern Time (ET)

All-Conference Choirs

Plenary Sessions

Workshops

Evening Programs

Worship Services

UCCMA Members Meeting


All-Conference Choirs

Thursday & Friday

11:00 am – 12:15 pm Rehearsals

A feature of all UCCMA conferences is everyone’s participation in a conference choir that will perform at the closing worship service. This provides you with the opportunity to experience conducting from your choir members’ perspective and to learn from a master. You will choose which choir to join when you register. Please attend both rehearsals.

Conference Vocal Choir

With Tom Shelton


Conference Handbell Choir

With Ellen Dickinson

Plenary Sessions

Thursday

9:45 am –10:45 pm 

Five Hundred Years in 50 Minutes

with Janet Yieh

A talk to rediscover resources for programming sacred music by women composers. Janet Yieh is a co-founder of Amplify Female Composers, a graduate of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and The Juilliard School, and Director of Music at Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City.

Friday  
9:45 am –10:45 pm

Deep Listening: A Talk with Dr. Braxton Shelley
Yale Professor Braxton Shelley is a musicologist who specializes in African American popular music and gospel performance among other things (see his bio!). A fuller description of this talk will be forthcoming.

Workshops 

Wednesday

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Reading Session

Members of the Board of Directors share choral anthems that they recommend.

Thursday

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Breakout Sessions #1

(choose one)


1A - Tips, tricks, tools and software to simplify your life as a church musician

With Kathleen Theisen

Overwhelmed by tech? Need a tech tune-up? Kathleen will share many options for your digital life as a church musician - including tablets, iPads, phones, computers, and other devices, as well as how to use them in your daily church life, as well as a plethora of accessories to connect to digital instruments or other devices.

1B – Things I never learned in college – Reflections on 50 years (nearly) in Music Ministry
with Craig Symons
How have you navigated your career in Music Ministry? What tips/tricks have you found that sparked joy and energized your work? Come hear Craig share his thoughts about important resources he's uncovered in his career. This session will be interactive -- bring your thoughts to share with each other and maybe you'll come away with new tools for the work in your congregation and community.

Thursday

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm

Breakout Sessions #2

(choose one)

2A - Our Work: Creating Inclusive, Antiracist Liturgical Materials

With Amanda Udis-Kessler

This workshop will provide information and models to help participants create antiracist and more broadly inclusive liturgical materials (other than music) for traditionally structured worship services. We'll engage with different service components in the context of the challenges and opportunities of making a place at the table for all people. In the activity hour immediately following the workshop, participants will create and share inclusive/antiracist liturgical materials. (Conference attendees may join for the second hour only, but the activity experience will be enriched by attendance at the workshop.)

2B – Involving Children and Youth in Worship in Unique Ways

With Tom Shelton

and Gregory Chestnut


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 4 songs appropriate for children's choirs in a church setting.  Each piece will be introduced in a different way, using warm-ups, sight-reading exercises, games and movement activities. 

Greg Chestnut will continue the conversation with creative non-musical ways of involving and engaging children in worship. He will explore leadership roles such as creative writing of liturgy, greeters and ushers, liturgical arts and acolytes, thus giving children of all ages the opportunity to experience and participate in the pageantry and drama of worship.  

Thursday

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Activity Options

Continuation of Amanda Udis-Kessler’s Workshop

Create and share inclusive/antiracist liturgical materials.

Reading Session: Choral or Instrumental


Small Discussion Groups

Join our workshop leaders for further conversation. More details and sign-ups will be available at the conference.

Organ Masterclass

With Nathaniel Gumbs
Be sure to pack a piece you can play for Mr. Gumbs for some expert coaching. Or simply listen to others as they play under his guidance.

Yoga for Musicians

With Steven Russell
Discover your healthy, performing body through breath for relaxation, and focus of mind. No yoga experience or level of flexibility is necessary. Discover the path to health of body, mind, and spirit through breath and movement. You may use a yoga mat, a towel, or a chair. Bring a desire to breathe deeply, focus attention, and explore the relationship to self and others.


Virtual Tours of First Church’s Stained Glass

With Pat Larrabee
The stained glass windows in this church are quite unique in that they ambitiously depict a range of history including events in Jesus' life, the Protestant Reformation, the founding of the UCC, American Missionaries, forces that drove Protestants to America, and the history of First Church here in Greenwich. A couple of 1895 windows are Tiffany-like, and the Chancel window is a rare and stunning sculptured gold design that has vibrant colors in the day, but turns golden at night.

Friday

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm 

Breakout Sessions #3

(choose one)

3A - I'm a little bit country; I'm a little bit rock 'n roll: Clergy/Musician Relationships

A panel discussion with the clergy and musicians from First & Second Congregational Churches in Greenwich exploring the day-to-day workings in collaborative ministry.

3B - Digital Metaverse 

With Rev. Eric Elley

In late 2021, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, made a splash when it announced its vision for the metaverse. While news of Meta's vision has faded, the metaverse continues to innovate and define itself apart from the company known as Meta. Join us to learn how the partnership of the Southern New England Conference, Bloomfield Congregational Church, and SolaceVR is democratizing and creating digital experiences in virtual reality (VR) and how your church can be part of the leading edge of new VR expressions of Christian community and worship.


Friday

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm 

Breakout Sessions #4

(choose one)

4A - Alternative Worship Experiences
 With Jim Boratko

Is your congregation looking for something different in worship? Have you heard about other types of services but are not sure what they are about? Looking for some resources that might add a different dimension to your worship? This session will provide some answers and resources for you. Jim will be joined by Liz Oman-Wilfrid and Greg Wilfrid to provide an exposure to four different types of services that might be something you'd like to try. The session will include four different segments that will allow you to learn about, obtain resources, and experience some other services. Traditions to be covered include: Taize, Celtic, Labyrinth walking, Jazz. You'll leave with a better understanding of each of those services and resources that will help you put them together in your churches.

4B - Conference Accompanist: Playing What's Not on the Page

With Nathaniel Gumbs

This session will explore ways to embellish our keyboard skills in various genres of sacred music; ranging from contemporary/traditional hymns, gospel, and global. Organists and pianists are welcomed to join session and be prepared to play!


Friday

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm  

Activity Options


Sing and Share with Us! 

With Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney

Learn more about the exciting new digital hymn resource "Then Let Us Sing!" from the United Church of Canada. Sing new songs and meet with members of the development committee. All are welcome.

Reading Session: Choral or Instrumental

Small Discussion Groups
Join our workshop leaders for further conversation. More details and sign-ups will be available at the conference.

Organ Masterclass 

With Nathaniel Gumbs

Yoga for Musicians

With Steven Russell

Discover your healthy, performing body through breath for relaxation, and focus of mind. No yoga experience or level of flexibility is necessary. Discover the path to health of body, mind, and spirit through breath and movement. You may use a yoga mat, a towel, or a chair. Bring a desire to 

breathe deeply, focus attention, and explore the relationship to self and others.


Virtual Tour of Old Greenwich 

With Pat Larrabee

Old Greenwich was settled in 1640 and is far from an ordinary neighborhood. It's unusual in that it once had a mansion a full city block long, summer beach resorts, and several factories that made organs, vacuum cleaners, etc. Now it has lovely Binney Park, a large beach with an extensive nature preserve, a four star hotel and some famous people who used to live here, to name a few. The variety in Old Greenwich history is amazing. You'll be surprised. 


Evening Programs 
Wednesday

7:30 pm  

Theatre Organ Concert

Nathan Avakian will be lighting up the New York Theatre Organ Society Touring Organ. Let your hair down and enjoy! Open to the public.


Thursday

7:30 pm

Improv Show: Whose Line is it Anyway?

The Improv Night welcomes actors from New York City who will lead our guests in a variety of improvised skits based on suggestions from the audience, as well as audience participation!


Friday

7:30 pm

Cabaret Concert

Join us for a night of show tunes and cabaret songs in an intimate setting with local singers accompanied by Alexander Constantine. Snacks and beverages will be provided for this fun evening of music and socializing.


Worship Services

Thursday & Friday

9:00 am – 9:30 am 

Morning Worship

Conducted by the Rev. Liz Garrigan-Byerly

Saturday

11:00 am

A Place at the Table

Closing Worship with Rev. Liz Garrigan-Byerly presiding and Nathaniel Gumbs, organist. Featuring the All-Conference Choral Choir directed by Tom Shelton and the Handbell Choir directed by Ellen Dickinson. Open to the public.


UCCMA Members Meeting

Friday

12:30 pm – 1:15 pm

The Biennial Membership Meeting of UCCMA will be held during lunch. This is a good chance to get to know your leadership team and learn more about UCCMA.

WORSHIP, MUSIC & MINISTRY



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All correspondence concerning membership in UCCMA, changes of address and other inquiries should be addressed to the United Church of Christ Musicians Association, P.O. Box 370631, West Hartford, CT  06137.

Information about the United Church of Christ Musicians Association is available at www.uccma.org.

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