Skills Workshops and Masterclasses:

Wednesday, July 5, 1:00-2:30 pm and

Saturday, July 8, 9:30-10:30 am

Sessions are listed in alphabetical order by title.


A Sacred Trust: Nurturing Healthy Pastor-Cantor Relationships I, II

Rev. Dr. L. George Detweiler Donald R. Meineke

The concept of pastors and musicians working together is broader than planning worship alone. While worship planning is made easier by good working relationships, the more foundational questions are: How are those good relationships built, nurtured, maintained, or sustained? How can differing opinions be a source of strength? What musical insights do pastors provide, and what theological insights can musicians offer? How can these roles compliment one another as part of the same vocation oriented toward the people of God?

Choral Conducting and Communication: Full of Grace, Seasoned with Salt

Ryan Kelly

Effective choral conducting and ministry requires clear communication with our singers and assemblies, and despite our best intentions, we don’t always communicate as well as we ought. These workshops will focus on core communication skills of choral conductors—gesture, modeling, verbal and written instruction, and rehearsal sequencing. Using a provided anthem packet, participants will engage in various group activities and individual “podium time” as we work to refine these skills.

Children’s Choral I, II

Tom Shelton (Wednesday)

Getting Out of the Rut: Ideas for Introducing a New Song to Young Singers
We all have our individual teaching styles when introducing new music.  Sometimes we lose our creativity, fall into a “rut”, and introduce new songs the same way every time. 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 six songs appropriate for developing voices in the elementary choral setting. Each piece will be introduced in a different way, using warm-ups, sight-reading exercises, games and movement activities.

Dr. Michael Burkhardt (Saturday)

Final Children’s Choir Camp Rehearsal with Michael Burkhardt
Children can and should lead music in worship in a variety of ways that are outside the “anthem spot.” Our closing conference worship service will put this conviction into practice. This session will provide an opportunity to observe the final rehearsal of the Hearts, Hands, and Voices Children’s Choir Camp, led by Michael Burkhardt, as they finalize preparations.

Composition and Arranging I, II

Mark Mummert

Church musicians in many settings may be called upon or need to arrange or compose music for specific contexts. This track will build skills and tools to compose vocal and/or instrumental music for use in worship, and a knowledge of basic music theory will be helpful. We will identify goals and objectives that define good and useful music for worship, with the hope that each participant will create at least one work that could be used. Participants may also bring compositions in progress for sharing, observation, and critique.

Handbell Techniques I, II: The Body Is the Instrument

Michael Joy

“… the body is the instrument through which [people] communicate and express [themselves.]”  -Rudolph Laban

This statement can have a profound effect on the musicianship of any handbell ringer. Through an understanding of Laban’s movement ideas and the application of his movement vocabulary, ringers on any level can expand their possibilities for more musical ringing. During these two hands-on sessions, participants will explore how they move and how it affects both their musicianship and the congregation’s perception of their musical offering. The other big part of these sessions will deal with developing rhythmic feeling. This is a topic that is often neglected in the interest of only getting the right notes and rhythms. By combining Laban’s ideas with an awareness of rhythmic feeling, any ringer can improve their musicianship. 

Improvisation I, II: Drawing from Many Streams: Musical Styles in Today’s Hymnody

Omaldo Perez

As church musicians, most of us train our hands and ears in the proper appreciation and interpretation of the music handed down to us by the Great Western Classical tradition. On the one hand, we have many prominent templates that teach us how to approach the works of J. S. Bach, for example. On the other hand, outstanding models of today’s musical vernacular are not self-evident, thus making finding the most pertinent ones to our vocation a bewildering task. 

Given the great diversity of musical styles represented in our denominational resources, acquainting ourselves with the many stylistic streams represented in our hymnody is more critical than ever. These workshops are designed to introduce sources and practices from around the world to help broaden our imagination and stir up creativity.

Leading Assembly Song: Band-Led and Contemporary Song I, II

The Rev. Dr. Clayton Faulkner

This track will focus on band-led worship featuring vocalists, guitars, drums, keyboard, and other ensemble instruments. A range of topics will be covered including improving the flow of worship, tips for communicating to different instrumentalists, and ideas to improve sound quality. The learning will be tailored to the needs of the group.

Leading Assembly Song: Keyboard Emphasis I, II 

(organ on Wednesday, piano on Saturday)

Dr. Daniel Aune

As church musicians, our most important work is to lead the assembly in sung praise. There are many ways to inspire singing, whether through creative introductions, reharmonizations or colorful registrations. One important factor in all of these approaches is to realize that when playing hymns and service music we’re often making transcriptions. We’re adapting a hymn written in a four-part choral setting for the organ or piano, or adapting a piano score for the organ or an organ score for the piano. While covering the basic fundamentals of strong leadership for congregational singing, we will explore how this art of transcription aids in the creative process.

Music that Makes Community I, II

Paul Vasile

Explore ways to integrate paperless singing into congregational life—from worship to small group gatherings. Experience varied ways of singing and learning paperless music and build a toolbox of essential skills for leading this way.

Percussion Techniques I, II

John Sall

Many congregations have broadened choral and congregational repertoire with global resources. We will look at clear and effective teaching models and resources to make use of both trained percussionists in the congregation and strong musicians willing to learn new ways to accompany and support such music even if (or when) drumming isn’t your familiar role.

Technology and Worship I, II

Kevin Barger

In our lifetimes, and especially since 2020, we have witnessed many changes in how we gather for worship. With live-streaming, there are new technical requirements and considerations for how we best stay connected and worship in a digital world. With the advent of technology also comes attendant considerations regarding copyrights and permissions. We will explore all these issues as we consider how we worship in a digital age and do it well.

Wanamaker Organ Visit

The world-renowned Wanamaker Grand Court Organ in Philadelphia is the largest fully-functioning pipe organ in the world, based on the number of playing pipes, the number of ranks and its weight. The Wanamaker Organ is located within a spacious 7-story Grand Court at Macy’s Center City (formerly Wanamaker’s department store). The organ is played in concert twice a day, six days a week at noon and 5:30. In addition, a guided behind-the-scenes tour of the organ will be offered on Wednesday, July 5, from 1:00-2:30 pm (the first skills workshop/masterclass session). This tour is offered without cost to participants, but is limited to the first 24 participants who register, so claim your spot right away!


Workshops: Thursday, July 6

Each session is offered two times: 1:30-2:30 and 2:45-3:45 pm

Workshops are listed in alphabetical order by title.


Nurturing and Equipping: What Does This Mean?

Julie Grindle

“ALCM nurtures and equips musicians to serve and lead the church’s song.”

Join moderators Julie Grindle and Chad Fothergill in open conversation about the intersections of ALCM’s mission statement with broader currents of change in culture and the church. What does the future of ALCM’s mission look like for students of all ages? How can ALCM best nurture and equip seminarians, rostered leaders, cantors, worship committees, assemblies, and more? Each session will include virtual participation of students and staff from the Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival in Valparaiso, IN. We welcome and encourage your voice in this important conversation.

All the Time in the World: Observing Civic Festivals

The Rev. Mark Oldenburg

While secular festivals (from July 4 to Mother’s Day to the Super Bowl) aren’t part of the church year, they certainly affect the assembly. This workshop will outline some of the gifts and challenges these occasions offer for the church’s worship, making some suggestions about how they might be faithfully included in our prayer, praise, and proclamation.

CW: Blue—What’s Old? What’s New?

Grace Hennig

What does a small American Lutheran church body include in a new hymnal published roughly 500 years after the Achtliederbuch? How did The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) and Christian Worship (1993) shape the content of this twenty-first-century WELS “Nachfolger”? What new-to-WELS Christian worship resources contributed to this body of liturgy and hymnody? And how did an 800-page psalter emerge from the work of a hymnal committee? If your curiosity has been piqued you are invited to hear not only the answers to these questions but also learn more about the choices regarding hymnody, psalmody, and liturgy in Christian Worship, or “CW: Blue,” the new Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod hymnal, published in 2021.

Giving Voice to Verse

Tom Trenney

Join Tom Trenney to step inside a few of his compositions to discover how music becomes an exegetical art when it creates a space for the text to be more deeply felt and clearly heard. Perhaps this time in discernment and reflection will help us to discover the stories longing to be told through our interpretations of the hymns and anthems we offer in worship each and every week.

God Will Still Be Praised: Nurturing Changes in the Leadership of the Church’s Song

Dcn. Ryan K. Hostler

In this session we will explore new resources, processes, and ideas published by ALCM that are intended to assist congregations when searching for and hiring a musician to nurture the song of the church. The presentation and conversation will include everything from volunteers to full-time, called professionals and be facilitated by the presenter and other Employment Task Force members.

Hallowed Be the Profane: Insights, Tips, and Examples for Beginning or Deepening Contemporary Worship without Waging a Worship War

Dr. Linda Borecki

The tension between sacred and secular, innovation and conservation, “us” and “them” in worship will always challenge us on this side of heaven. We are enculturated creatures with instincts (and biases) shaped by our tribes and experiences. At the same time, we have the capacity to become musically and liturgically multi-lingual, to worship “in the language of the people” as Luther would say, of both cultural insiders and outsiders in Lutheran sacramental worship. This workshop will offer concrete, practical examples of music and liturgy from contemporary, folk, and jazz genres—some reproducible for free!—and how to wisely “hallow” and incorporate them into service orders. Music covered can be learned and implemented by an average musician and congregation with limited resources and unlimited help from on High.

Handbells Reading Session

Michael Joy

Wednesday and Saturday skills workshop/masterclasses deal with specific issues related to handbell technique. With this hands-on reading session, participants will delve more deeply into repertoire for handbells.

Piano Repertoire Session

Anne Krentz Organ

This session focuses on hymn-based piano repertoire from multiple music publishers. Is there a pianist in your congregation who would like to share their gifts in worship? These well-crafted piano arrangements offer opportunities for inclusion at various points in the service: prelude, offering, communion distribution, postlude, and more.

Post-Plenary Conversation or Plenary Extension

Dr. Mark Miller

Preparing for (and Enjoying) Retirement

Bruce BengtsonDcn. Linda Kempke Dr. Thomas SchmidtRev. Dr. L. George Detweiler

How do I decide to retire? How will I know the right time? What will I do after I retire? What plans do I need to make before I retire? What will I do with my personal scores, books, files, bulletins, and journals that are in my office or home? What music should I keep? What music might I give away and to whom? Perhaps there are other questions that you have as you think about retirement. Come hear ALCM members share their retirement decisions and experiences; this workshop will also provide opportunity for you to ask questions that will help you plan for that time.


Workshops: Friday, July 7

Each session is offered two times: 1:30-2:30 and 2:45-3:45 pm

Workshops are listed in alphabetical order by title.

African American Spirituals and Music of Black Composers in Congregational Singing

Dr. Jay Fluellen

African American Spirituals are a true expression of humanity in the midst of a system designed to consistently dehumanize people of African descent. With the melding of textual imagery and melody, this music still has things it can teach us. My workshop will focus on performance practice of spirituals in congregational singing. We will additionally get a chance to explore music by African American composers that have been inspired by the spiritual.

All Creation Sings: Introducing the Supplement to Evangelical Lutheran Worship

Dcn. John Weit

This workshop will explore the new worship and song supplement developed for use in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. All Creation Sings brings together a wide range of cultural, ethnic, generational, and theological perspectives in its liturgical settings and two hundred hymns and songs. Several of these hymns fall under the headings of creation, lament, justice and society, and healing and wholeness, areas determined to be especially worthy of additional hymns and songs after research within the ELCA. Whether you already use ACS in your context or are curious about its contents, come and learn about how this resource was developed and sing together.

Band-Led Song Repertoire

The Rev. Dr. Clayton Faulkner

Following the flow of the church’s liturgical calendar, this reading session will introduce some lesser-known songs for your assembly.

Communicating with Your Congregation and Community

Dr. Adam Lefever Hughes

As lovers of music and liturgy, sometimes we seek to form faith through our acts of worship. However, when there isn’t enough time to explain the depths of a connection, we may need to think outside the Sunday-morning box. Faith formation, music, and creative writing come together in this workshop where participants will explore ways to communicate about music, liturgy, and faith. Come ready for a conversation about what you are already doing, ideas for future growth, and ideas for collaboration—all in addition to real-life examples from the presenter’s own work.

Improving Your Live Stream


The recent shift to livestreaming has posed a unique challenge for individuals in ministry, thrusting them into unfamiliar tech roles. Churches that embraced livestreaming during this time quickly realized its potential to reach a wider audience. As we move forward, it has become clear that livestreaming has given rise to an entirely new branch of the ministry.

A vibrant online community now relies on this form of outreach, and it is here to stay as an essential extension of your ministry. Now it’s time to enhance and refine your livestreaming practices.

In this session, we will equip you with the best techniques to maximize the impact of your livestream, not only the technical aspects of production but also the art of understanding how to effectively engage your online community. We will delve into industry-wide best practices, addressing the common questions that churches often have regarding successful livestreaming implementation.

Organ Repertoire Session

Andy Heller

This session will explore organ repertoire from a variety of publishers, both new releases as well as some “old favorites.”

Orgelkids Building Project

Vincent M. Ryan

Build a small, real, playable pipe organ! Workshop participants will help assemble, then play, the Orgelkids organ—a two-rank, two-octave tracker organ with manual bellows. Initially designed for children, it also appeals to learners of all ages. This isn’t just your average portative organ. Rather, is it the ultimate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) project incorporating teamwork, history, archeology, science, and organization. When assembled, the organ is a charming musical instrument which plays well alone or in small ensembles.

Post-Plenary Conversation or Plenary Extension

The Rev. Dr. Dien Ashley TaylorDr. Jean Boehler

Post-Plenary Conversation or Plenary Extension

Dcn. Jennifer Baker-Trinity

Think like a Hymnologist

Peter C. Reske

We know why we sing hymns, but why should we study them? Explore several aspects of hymnology with Peter Reske, co-editor of the groundbreaking Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymns. Using examples drawn from throughout history, this workshop will consider sources (What did the author intend?), revision (What did hymnal editors intend?), biography (How did experiences shape a hymn?), and meta-analysis (How do hymns relate to one another?). The discussion will include an examination of original sources, insider’s research tips, and planning suggestions—all of which promise to enrich our hymnological teaching, preaching, and singing, as well as our thinking.

W2, W9, 1040, 1099, Schedule C: The Church Musician in the Gig Economy

Dale Loepp

Participants in this workshop will explore not only the theoretical distinctions between employees and independent contractors, but also the ways in which these distinctions play out in the real world—especially in the face of a rapidly growing gig economy. This workshop will also review recordkeeping, tax payment, filing requirements, and available resources for independent contractors, along with the challenges and opportunities brought about by a flurry of recent changes in tax law.

Note: this workshop will present information about tax law, but should not be construed as providing professional advice for any one particular tax situation.


Skills Workshops and Masterclasses:

Saturday, July 8, 9:30-10:30 am

See above under Wednesday offerings.