Group Learning Sessions

. . . church musicians lead the church’s song. In the Lutheran tradition we are often known as cantors. This includes the roles of choir directors, organists, instrumental leaders, praise band leaders, song leaders, composers, arrangers, and worship planners. Since its founding in 1985 the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians (ALCM) has served its members by providing the support, learning, networking, grounding, inspiration and celebration to carry us into the future. 

. . . While some of us are employed in full-time positions, most are employed part-time. Some are called as volunteers, often in churches that cannot afford to hire a musician. We lead the church’s songs and hymns, we plan and perform choral and instrumental music, and use our talents to lead and grow the congregation’s voice. We are all are called to excellence in the music that we lead.”

These two paragraphs from ALCM’s document, “Called to Be a Living Voice” (adopted October 2016), provide the framework in which this 4-day event will take place. At the core of the event are four group learning session blocks, each with multiple options. Input from those who had registered by May 9 provided the topics. Each registrant may chose one option from each time block.

Tuesday, July 24 - Session 1 - 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Integrating / Arranging for Other Instruments
Bob Hobby
Utilizing instrumental talents from within the congregation is a creative and meaningful way to engage lay involvement of all ages in worship. Explore modest (and inexpensive) ways – including basic arranging and borrowing from existing resources – that might assist music leaders in their efforts.

Paperless Music Leadership (repeated Wed.10:30 a.m.)
Paul Vasile and Chanda Rule
Leaders of Music That Makes Community will share leadership practices and repertoire that support paperless (aural tradition) song leading and teaching.

Leading Assembly Song with Guitar
Paul Friesen-Carper

For those who lead with acoustic guitar and voice, this session will address hymn/song introductions, transitioning between stanzas, leading in various styles/genres, and other helpful topics. Participants are encouraged to bring their own guitar, if possible.

Preparing Children’s Choirs for Worship (repeated Wed. 1:30 p.m.)
Karol Kinard Kimmell
Come, learn rehearsal techniques specifically designed for children, including successful warm-ups and 2-part-singing-building songs, some based on hymns. Learn various ways to develop beautiful diction with children as well as specific ways to include children playing instruments in worship. Ideas for hymnody and sung responses with children will be explored, too. Karol will set up the room like her choir room, with visuals and helpful, playful items to enhance learning of head tone, diction, phrasing, rhythms, and more.

Composing for the Assembly (repeated Tues. 1:30 p.m.)
Anne Krentz Organ
This session will focus on gospel acclamations (alleluia verses), Psalm settings, and other brief sung responses for worship. While the primary voice is that of the assembly, possible inclusion of a choir/cantor will also be explored.

Tuesday, July 24 - Session 2 - 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Leading Assembly Song with Organ (repeated Wed. at 1:30 p.m.)
Sunghee Kim
Participants will together explore aspects of leading the assembly from the organ including: hymn/song introductions, transitioning between stanzas, and registration. Other possible topics to be covered may include: adapting piano music for organ, leading in various styles/genres, and conducting from the keyboard. Many participants will have an opportunity to try out various skills during the session. You may consider bringing examples to work on and your organ shoes.

Composing for the Assembly (repeated Tues. 11:30 a.m.)
Anne Krentz Organ

Adam Reinwald
Explore and practice conducting techniques with the Assistant Conductor of the National Lutheran Choir.

Sundays and & Prelude Music Planner (repeated Wed. 10:30)
Mark Stahura
Learn how to better use these two invaluable tools in your music planning, freeing up hours each week to concentrate on your music! Hands-on exercises plus demonstration will be included – lots of tips and tricks.

Exploring Resources for Worship Planning (ELCA) (repeated Wed. 1:30)
Jennifer Baker-Trinity, Martin Seltz, and Kevin Strickland
In this session, we will spend time getting to know the resources available to assist you in worship planning in your congregation, as well as offering guidance for best practices in the planning process. Following that exploration, we’ll take time to do some planning together of a specific season of the church year.

Worship Band Leadership
Kip Fox

This session will explore many aspects of band leadership including instrumentation (electric bass, guitar, synthesizer, keyboard, drum kit), audio engineering, interpreting lead sheets, and contemporary vocal leadership. This session will be helpful to those of all levels of experience in band leadership. The house band for our time together also includes Paul Friesen-Carper, Max Murphy, and Omaldo Perez.

Wednesday, July 25 - Session 3 - 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Designing and Presenting Hymn Festivals
Bob Hobby and Jennifer Baker-Trinity

Have you thought about presenting a hymn festival in your congregation or community for the first time? Would you like further guidance for continuing an established practice? This workshop will consider the many dimensions of planning a hymn festival such as developing theme, sources for reflections, use of choirs or instrumentalists, and more. Participants will also spend workshop time drafting a hymn festival and sharing ideas with one another.

Paperless Music Leadership (repeated Tues. at 10:30 a.m.)
Paul Vasile and Chanda Rule

Leading Assembly Song with Piano
Anne Krentz Organ
Hymn/song introductions, transitioning between stanzas, and varied accompaniment styles will be addressed.

Sundays and & Prelude Music Planner (repeated Tues. 1:30)
Mark Stahura

Choral Rehearsal and Vocal Techniques
John Paradowski and Adam Reinwald

This session will consider effective rehearsal practices as well as techniques on working with choirs on choral tone and vocal technique.


Wednesday, July 25 - Session 4 - 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Leading Assembly Song with Organ (repeated Tues. at 1:30 p.m.)
Sunghee Kim

Basic Percussion Skills
Paul Friesen-Carper

This session will cover basic hand percussion skills, patterns, and techniques. Whether you’re new to this or use a djembe every week, come and experience how percussion can enhance assembly singing.

Types and Styles: Facilitating Assembly Participation in Print
Chad Fothergill

For centuries the church has given special attention to how God’s word—scripture, prayer, and song—has appeared in print, from illuminated manuscripts crafted in monasteries to today’s trove of downloadable materials. This lab-style workshop invites participants to the craft of designing service folders that, among other considerations, foster trust, show hospitality and care for the assembly and the earth, and invite worshippers to encounter the truth and beauty of holiness.

Preparing Children’s Choirs for Worship (repeated Tues. at 10:30 a.m.)
Karol Kinard Kimmell

Exploring Resources for Worship Planning (LCMS)
Paul Grime
This session will explore resources related to worship planning using Lutheran Service Book and other core LCMS worship resources. Attention will be given on how to expand more fully a congregation’s use of the hymnal, considering especially the diverse needs of congregations, including those with limited resources.

Exploring Resources for Worship Planning (ELCA) (repeated Tues. 1:30 p.m.)
Jennifer Baker-Trinity, Martin Seltz, and Kevin Strickland

Ring and Rejoice: The Liturgical Use of Handbells in Worship
John Paradowski
In liturgical worship services, whether it is contemporary or traditional in style, the use of handbells and chimes can add a new dimension to many parts of the liturgy. Not only will your ringers feel more a part of the worship service, but your congregation will appreciate the extra effort to make their worship more meaningful. Handbells don’t just play anthems!