In-Depth Seminars

View In-Person Seminars

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In-Person In-Depth Seminars:

In-Depth Seminars are intensive learning experiences typically offered in two 90-minute sessions over the course of two consecutive days (Monday-Tuesday or Wednesday-Thursday).  One In-Depth Seminar will consist of four 90-minute sessions spanning all four days of the conference:

  • Composers’ Track: Composing for Worship (Mark Lawson and David Sims)

If you choose the Composers’ Track, you will need to identify that Seminar for both the Monday-Tuesday AND the Wednesday-Thursday In-Depth Seminar session times.

All Four Days  Monday and Tuesday 

Wednesday and Thursday

All Four Days

NEW! Composers’ Track: Composing for Worship

Mark Lawson and David Sims
Offered monday – thursday

Composing music for your church can be an inspiring part of the life of a church musician. Whether you are a published composer or want to try writing a psalm refrain, you’ll find inspiration and tools to keep working at your craft. This week-long session will feature different topics each day, including an in-depth look at the music publishing process, support with music notation software like Finale and Dorico, and conversations with experienced composers and teachers.Participants will be asked to fill out a questionnaire prior to the conference to help tailor the class to the experience level of the attendees. Everyone is encouraged to bring a piece or two you have written so that in small groups we can provide feedback and encouragement to one another.
* Please note: this is a four-day Seminar. If you choose this Seminar you will not be able to attend another one. 


Monday and Tuesday

Working with the Developing Singer

Threes Hibbard

Dr. Hibbard will explore rehearsal goals, strategies, and techniques which can nurture healthy and artistic singing for people of all ages.

Christian Preaching and Worship in an Age of the Pandemics

Eunjoo Mary Kim

Session 1: Why Preach? Why Worship?

This session invites the participants to critically reflect on their preaching and worship ministry in the past and the present and helps envision its future through renewed theological imagination.

Session 2: Imagining a New Paradigm—A Praxis

How might Christian preaching and worship be the agency of God’s politics in our globalized world? This session explores a new paradigm and strategies for renewing homiletical and liturgical practices.

Reimagining Our Handbell Choir Experience

Jill Mahr

The challenges of living with COVID have made music making quite unpredictable.  In churches, most of us have seen our bell choirs disrupted, changing often during the last two years.  During this in-depth session we will ring and explore new literature for many different combinations of ringers and hopefully send you back to your churches with renewed excitement and strategies for whatever the future holds.  Bring your most pandemic-successful piece to share.

Sharing the Gift of Song with Our Children: A Curriculum for the Christian Year

Catherine and Joanne Rodland

“How fortunate we are that when we are disturbed and oppressed by the problem of words, we can flee to the realm of music, of Christian music, and to a musical Christianity.” Karl Barth was familiar with God’s gift of music, of its ability to touch his soul and ours in a way in which words alone cannot! We want to give children this sacred gift of God’s message through song knowing it will remain with them throughout their lives. Our framework for the seminar will be a Summer Choir School Curriculum built on the Christian Year. Using Orff-Schulwerk approaches to teaching including speech chants and the use of Orff instruments, we will explore new and creative ways to “Sing Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs with love in our hearts for God” and each other knowing that with “Body, Mind, Spirit, and Voice the Whole Person Will Sing and Rejoice.”

The Intersection of Faith and Activism through a Cultural Lens

Kelly Sherman-Conroy

Religious leaders across the country from many faith traditions have joined with Black churches and other faith groups in calling for police reforms and the dismantling of racism after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Some have marched and carried signs, while others have spoken at rallies or served as protest chaplains. Many have also fostered discussions about racial justice in their congregations.

What would our role as faith-filled activists look like if we reconnected with the heart and soul of our relationship with God and the intended connection to all created on this land. Can a new perspective guide us to a deeper understanding of the importance of activism in a way that honors relationships as children of God to each other and to the creation and in turn fuels the fight against injustice and inequality.


Wednesday and Thursday

Organ Style and Improvisation in Worship

James E. Bobb

This In-Depth Seminar is a masterclass in playing hymns and service music in various styles at the organ. We will work on crafting simple, effective arrangements; creating appropriate textures with rhythm, articulation, and registration; using chord symbols; and exploring new harmonies. Short demonstrations will serve as models for hands-on music-making by participants. Bring your organ shoes.

Metaphors for a Better World: Writing as a Tool for Collective Liberation and Healing

Joe Davis

Writing can be a powerful tool to help process emotions, self express, and create the needed space to heal.

Nationally-touring poet, teaching artist, and community organizer, Joe Davis, will interweave writing and healing practices to invite participants to unapologetically speak their truth and claim their power. No need to identify as a writer or artist, all experience levels are welcomed as we collectively explore how to write ourselves into a new way of being and creatively catalyze the world we long to live in together.

Imagining Change: Theology and Practice in a New Religious Landscape

Katherine Fick and Matt Marohl

For many of us, our communities and church lives are changing. As Christians, we often ask ourselves and one another, “What am I going through and how does my faith relate to my experience?” We ask this when we are grieving. We ask this when we are filled with joy. How is God active in our lives? Over two sessions, we will ask the same question in terms of our broader church experience. It’s a two-step process. First, we’ll take a look at the lay of the land. What are people saying about the future of “the church”? Second, we’ll offer a biblical and theological examination of our shared experience. Where is God? And, what is God up to?

Ethnic Percussion in the Church

David Hagedorn
Offered Monday-tuesday and wednesday-thursday

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. 

The Gospel of Irresolution: Illness, Trauma, and Getting to Hope

Deanna Thompson

At their best, religions comfort and support people in the face of suffering. But sometimes the reasons religions offer for suffering can make things worse. If religious communities are to be places where those who suffer are able to communicate the truth of their reality and receive the support they need, the religious stories we tell need to be spacious enough to hold the grief, loss, and despair that accompany traumatic experiences like sexual violence, systemic racism, serious illness, or living through a global pandemic. And for Christians, one way to do this is to take on the typical storyline of faith and let it breathe. This in-depth seminar will help participants reimagine the role of lament and sadness in Christian individual and communal life and explore the ways that doing so opens up new avenues of hope.

To Repair: Imagining What Repair Looks Like in Your Church and Music Communities

Tesfa Wondemagegnehu

In summer 2021, Tesfa Wondemagegnehu embarked on 60 day, 40-stop research pilgrimage across the eastern half of the United States, collecting narratives from community members, activists, artists, clergy, and politicians whose work focuses on repair. He talked with anybody who had things to say on this subject and most of their work on repair was directly tied to saving the soul of this nation. If we fix the problems within the Black community; if we truly prioritize making the last become our first, ALL our disenfranchised communities will begin to thrive. This isn’t just an American issue, it is a global issue, and it is an issue that can only be solved by all stakeholders and institutions humbling themselves and realizing that the Answers have already been given to us. The Universe has been longing for us to wake up; hoping we begin to radically love and serve our neighbors by sharing all that we have of ourselves. Tesfa’s four movement choral piece, inspired by what he learned on his To Repair journey, debuted in April 2022 at Lincoln Center in New York. This In-Depth Seminar will feature reflections from Tesfa’s journey and choral writing process and have participants consider the questions: What is the role of my community (church, choir, etc.) in advocating for justice and repair? What does doing the work of repair look like?

Virtual Track In-Depth Seminars:

In-Depth Seminars are intensive learning experiences offered in three 90-minute sessions over the course of three consecutive days (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday).

Imagining the “Cyborg” Body of Christ at Worship

Paul Damico-Carper

COVID deeply altered the way many churches see, integrate, and understand technology. Churches are increasingly engaging a hybrid worship reality– the Body of Christ is gathering with aid from a wide variety of technologies used by both in-person and on-line members. As they adjust to this sea-change, churches are learning anew that their practical decisions about technology shape their understanding of themselves and their experience of God and Christian community. What opportunities and challenges arise as we incorporate new technologies into worship? How are we making meaning around technology’s presence in and mediating of worship? What technologies might we consider using (or using in new ways) to faithfully worship?

In this seminar we will explore the changes Covid has brought to the use of worship technology in our contexts. We will consider approaches, tools, and ideas for incorporating technology in worship. We will consider the values we bring to that task, and wonder how hybrid worship might change the ways we plan and lead worship and worship music. Throughout, I will share from my experience developing the worship production ministry at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, St. Paul.

Ethnic Percussion in the Church

David Hagedorn

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.

Christian Preaching and Worship in an Age of the Pandemics

Eunjoo Mary Kim

The seminar will focus on the homiletical and liturgical challenges of the twin pandemics–the COVID-19 and structural racism. Through the renewed imagination, the participants will share their preaching and worship experiences during the pandemics and think together new paradigms theologically and practically relevant to our changing context.

The Gospel of Irresolution: Illness, Trauma, and Getting to Hope

Deanna Thompson

At their best, religions comfort and support people in the face of suffering. But sometimes the reasons religions offer for suffering can make things worse. If religious communities are to be places where those who suffer are able to communicate the truth of their reality and receive the support they need, the religious stories we tell need to be spacious enough to hold the grief, loss, and despair that accompany traumatic experiences like sexual violence, systemic racism, serious illness, or living through a global pandemic. And for Christians, one way to do this is to take on the typical storyline of faith and let it breathe. This in-depth seminar will help participants reimagine the role of lament and sadness in Christian individual and communal life and explore the ways that doing so opens up new avenues of hope.