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. 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 to 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?

Adult Choral (Conducting) I, II

Dr. Zebulon M. Highben

Successful choral conductors are those who communicate clearly with their ensembles, enabling singers to understand the repertoire they perform and to connect with each other and their congregations or audiences. These workshops will focus on core communication skills of choral conductors—gesture, demonstration, verbal 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

Dr. Michael Burkhardt (Saturday)

The children’s choral track provides a unique opportunity to explore the importance of children leading in worship. The first session will explore the importance of helping children, families, and the congregation understand children’s roles as leaders, how to plan beyond anthem selection, and the repertoire and techniques that support these efforts. The second session will provide an opportunity to observe the final rehearsal of the Hearts, Hands, and Voices Children’s Choir, led by Michael Burkhardt, as they finalize preparations to lead in the conference closing worship service.

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.

 

ALCM and Worship: What Does This Mean?

Julie Grindle

A conversation with participants about the ALCM Worship statement (https://alcm.org/about/worship_statement/) and how ALCM can be a helpful organization to musicians at any stage in their careers. Panel discussion with current and former elected ALCM leaders, coordinated by Julie Grindle.

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.

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

Piano Reading 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

Practicing Self Care: Breath, Boundaries, and Resiliency

The Rev. Dr. Jennifer Phelps

In these times when tidal waves of expectations, persistent change, and competing stressors threaten to constantly overwhelm us, how do you practice self-care? In this workshop, we will explore how to set and model healthy boundaries as church leaders; prioritize spiritual and physical renewal; and discover and foster the moments of joy and hope to sustain us in our vocation.

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

 

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.

Organ Reading Session

Andy Heller

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.

Other Duties As Called

Paul Damico-Carper

As churches shrink, so do FTEs. Rather than lamenting that a particular church cannot support a full-time musician, might we explore what other parts of the church’s work might become a calling, too? To supplement musician’s work Christian education, advocacy, or administration often compliment the musician’s work well. And during the pandemic, many musicians took on the role of producing online worship, whether as a pre-recorded service or as a livestream. In this workshop we’ll 1) share the joys and challenges of being a musician with extra-musical duties in their job description, 2) talk about strategies for managing multiple workloads, and 3) imagine what the Spirit might be doing for us and for the church in these musician/something (a.k.a. “slashie”) calls.

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.