CWTA 2012 In-depth Seminars

Bruce Bengtson

The Empathetic Organist
This session will be an in-depth study of the organist’s role as leader and accompanist in the liturgical service.  Organ literature, hymn playing, and opportunity for class participation at the organ will round out the course.

Judy Bowers

Creative Confluence: Effective Music Making
As choral musicians of all ages gather for music making and worship, enormous planning and effort are required to structure success for all who want to participate. This in-depth seminar will be experiential in nature, providing pedagogy that can nurture singers in the many varied church music settings which abound. Primarily, the focus will be on rehearsal issues: music skill building, musical independence, re-voicing music, and expressive performance. In addition, the role of teacher delivery and pacing will be incorporated into rehearsal strategies.

John Ferguson

Improvisation – Lace Up Your Organ Shoes!
Designed for those who already improvise in service playing, Ferguson will explore musical concepts with potential to enrich a congregation’s experience when singing.  The major focus will be on systematic methods to grow skills in the improvisation of introductions and accompaniments for hymn singing including cross-cultural song.  Participants should prepare a hymn and introduction to share with the class and be coached by Ferguson.  Every participant should bring organ shoes and expect to play for each other.

Amy Frykholm

Acts of Attention: Listening for the Story in Biblical Texts and People
As a scholar, writer and journalist, Amy Frykholm has considered an array of subjects. She has interviewed women recovering from prostitution and migrants, missionaries, apocalyptic believers and sex addicts. She has written on contemplative Christianity and popular literature.  In every case, her writing is based on careful listening to people and texts. To each subject, she brings what she calls an “empathetic imagination” that involves both active attention and inquisitive analysis. In this session, Frykholm will lead participants in methods to engage both biblical texts and people in ways that draw their stories forward. Wewill discuss practices of listening, modes of attention and writing exercises that will aid participants in using empathetic imagination in their own “life work.” Amy Frykholm’s most recent book is See Me Naked: Stories of Sexual Exile in American Christianity (Beacon). She works as a special correspondent to The Christian Century. Participants are encouraged to read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich  by Alexander Solzhenitsyn before the conference. Suggested translators are Ralph Parker or H.T. Willetts.

David Hagedorn

Ethnic Percussion in the Church
Get in the groove as you make authentic sounds on congas, bongos, djembe and “toys.” Learn West African and African rhythms, improvisation and how to use effective percussion with ethnic hymnody in your church. Bring instruments if you have them; they will be securely locked in the seminar room for the week.

Kristen E. Kvam and Don E. Saliers

Wonder and Woe: The Psalms in Worship and Life
The Psalms have long informed the daily life and congregational worship of Christians. This in-depth seminar examines the Psalms from several vantage points: liturgy and the church year, daily life and life passages, history and theology.  The seminar also employs several ways to study the psalms: music and singing, reading and listening, reflecting and conversing. Participants in this seminar are urged to read William P. Brown’s Psalms in Abingdon Press’s  Interpreting Biblical Texts series. (ISBN: 978-0-687-00845-2)
Sketch of Sessions:

  • Tuesday:   Rediscovering the Psalms in Contemporary Culture: Psalms as Scripture, Prayer, and Poetry.   In this introductory session we will establish ways of “reading” and thinking about the psalms, particularly in light of our present contexts.
  • Wednesday:   Psalms of Praise and Lament.  Examining specific psalms, we will study the structures of praise and lament.  We also will explore several musical settings for these psalms as well as look at the use of such psalms by Luther and other theologians.
  • Thursday:   The Liturgical Use of the Psalms.   Careful examination of particular psalms will nourish our study of the ways that psalms are necessary to the church year and essential to the liturgy. We also will examine ways that certain hymns draw upon particular psalms.
  • Friday:  The Psalms on Life Passages.    In this session we will attend to the ways that the psalms resound with the range of human emotions. We also will examine their use during important life passages. We will conclude with specific musical settings.

Jill Mahr

Literature & Programming for Handbell Choirs
Discussion will focus on programming from many different viewpoints – programming for a whole year, for a season, for a particular choir, for fewer ringers and for ringer retention.  Participants will play literature, discuss it, and come away with music and ideas to breathe new life into your choirs.

Ben Stewart

The Underground River: Surprising Dimensions of Baptismal Theology
Martin Luther was a theologian of baptism, but the reforming movement he launched remains largely unaware of some of the daring leaps into baptismal waters that his theology calls for or implies. In this course we will dive right into exploring implications of Luther’s theology of baptism in such diverse areas as ecology, renewal of worship, appreciation for the human body, and living a meaningful daily life. Luther’s theology serves as a prominent theme in the course, but the confluence is wide: the course is designed for participants of any denominational tradition.

Christian Wiman

Poetry as a Way of Staying Alive, Professionally, Spiritually, and Literally
This workshop will focus on poetry as prayer, theology, liturgy, and personal spiritual expression.  Two days will be devoted to exploring the poems of various poets–some writing in English, some in translation–whose work, whatever the personal inclinations of the individual writers, has some spiritual element or focus relevant to Christians.  Another day will be spent discussing with Wiman his own most recent poems and the path he has taken to them.  On the fourth day, participants will be encouraged (but not forced!) to bring in their own poems to read aloud and discuss.