Annual Conference – Sectionals

Below are the breakout sessions, which we call “sectionals,” for our 2020 Annual Conference. These sessions are presented eight at a time by a variety of presenters on a variety of topics.

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Monday, July 13th, 2020

1:30PM – Sectionals I

Sectional 1Paul Manz at 100: A life dedicated to leading God’s people in song!

Scott M. Hyslop   

May 19, 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of composer Paul Manz. This lecture recital will take the participants through a cross section of Paul Manz’s organ improvisations, discussing the architecture of these works along with Manz’s compositional process and ethos. The works being discussed will then be demonstrated in practice – leading the workshop participants in a mini hymn festival using the improvisations with the hymns they were conceived to introduce.


Sectional 2New Collection by Dan Damon

Dan Damon, FHS   

Little Seeds: A new Hope Publishing collection by Dan Damon, FHS.


Sectional 3Caminemos Con Jesús / Let Us Walk With Jesus

Tony Alonso   

In many Christian communities in the United States, one or more dominant linguistic groups is increasingly the norm. This workshop draws on pastoral parish experience to explore some approaches to bilingual/multinlingual worship in the United States. Drawing on recent work composing music for bilingual/muticultural worship, we will explore a range of forms of singing in the many tongues of the spirit!


Sectional 4Known and New Hymns Favored by Contemporary Ensembles

Robert Feduccia, Sarah Hart

Sarah Hart and Robert Feduccia will explore contemporary hymnody originating from the trend of combining a hymn-like melodic and textual approach with accompaniment and arrangement techniques often used by contemporary ensembles. Topics will include the use of guitar, harmonic rhythm considerations, impact on congregational singing, and singing traditional tunes in new ways. A packet of music will be available to participants, providing examples for reference, study, and consideration.

A packet of music will be included.


Sectional 5Why Children Sing

Jacob Weber   

Looking at Concordia Publishing House’s new children’s hymnal, the editor discusses the rationale behind the selections of the content. This sectional explores traditional hymnody, world hymnody, spirituals, songs in canon, and contemporary Christian songs and how these can serve as a pedagogical approach to singing.


Sectional 6Lectionary Hymns of the Old Testament, Series A

Roy Hopp   

All texts by Gracia Grindal; all tunes by Roy Hopp (All new tunes); published by Wayne Leupold Editions


Sectional 7Text Writers Colloquium

Wayne Wold   

Participants are invited to bring their original hymn texts and tunes for sharing and receiving feedback from other participants and the workshop leader.


Sectional 8Making Sacred Space Through Song

Martha Burford, Paul Vasile

Explore the work of Music That Makes Community, an ecumenical non-profit organization that models practices of oral tradition teaching and learning, and invites communities to collaborate and connect through singing. We’ll share examples of the ways paperless singing has helped the diverse communities we serve create sacred space – in sanctuaries, walking labyrinths, around tables, on the streets, in fellowship gatherings, and many other places!

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

1:30PM – Sectionals II

Sectional 9Hymn-based instrumental resources from World Library Publications

Thomas Strickland, Alan Hommerding

New resources for instrumentalists at worship that incorporate hymn tunes in a variety of ways.


Sectional 10Volume 2 of Praise, Lament and Prayer:  Psalms 51-100

Carl P. Daw, Jr., FHS   

A Hope Publishing collection of psalms by Carl P. Daw, Jr.


Sectional 11Singing the Faith: A Short Introduction to Christian Hymnody

Kelly Dobbs-Mickus

Carl Schalk’s new book, Singing the Faith, is a succinct survey of Christian Hymnody that provides a basic overview to the reader without being so detailed as to be daunting. The author’s extensive knowledge on the topic is his gift, offered to those who possess either a professional or personal curiosity on the subject but lack the opportunity for formal study.


Sectional 12Songs for Racial and Gender Equity and Justice

Jann Aldredge-Clanton, Larry E. Schultz

We sing songs in worship to transform our world. Our congregational songs have power to shape our beliefs and actions because the music embeds words in our hearts. Our songs can instill racial and gender equity and justice in people from the earliest of ages. In this sectional, text writer Jann Aldredge-Clanton and composer Larry E. Schultz will draw from their collaboration on their latest hymn collection, Inclusive Songs for Resistance and Social Action, as well as from their three other hymn collections: Earth Transformed with Music! Inclusive Songs for Worship; Inclusive Hymns for Liberation, Peace, and Justice; and Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians. They will also draw from Imagine God! A Children’s Musical Exploring and Expressing Images of God, and from their song and activity book for preschool children. Larry and Jann will lead participants in songs intended to instill in children and adults an expansive theology of God that forms the foundation for an ethic of equality and justice in human relationships. Participants will sing songs that support the intersection of gender and racial justice with other justice movements. The songs name Deity as female and male and more to affirm the foundational biblical truth that all people of all races are created equally in the divine image (Genesis 1:27). With gender-balanced divine names and positive images of darkness, these songs help churches and individuals in our journey toward freedom from racism, sexism, and other intersecting injustices. Included will be songs appropriate for multifaith, multicultural, and multigenerational worship services and other gatherings.


Sectional 13Tune Writers Colloquium

John Horman   

Each year we offer a tune-writing colloquium designed for beginning composers who want to get started or published composers who want to continue refining their skills. This year’s session will address some of the following considerations:

  • Crafting tunes to match the complexity of a text
  • Carrying the text without getting in the way of its meaning
  • Tailoring a tune to the structure of a well-designed text– accenting the focus (impact) words in each stanza
  • Choosing good texts to set- where do you look?
  • Finding that “sweet middle” ground between too simple and unmemorable
  • Where are we in terms of inclusivity in today’s world.


Sectional 14From Worshiper, to Worship Leader, to Worship Creator: Empowering Youth to Create Meaningful Worship

Gabriel Edwards   

Some of the most effective song leaders and liturgy creators are not necessarily our pastors or most tenured lay leaders. The spiritual lives of youth are dynamic, vibrant, and inspirational for all members, and it’s important for churches to empower youth to create and lead worship experiences to share with their faith communities. In this workshop, we hear from Gabriel Edwards about his youth worship planning ministry at Creekwood Christian Church in Flower Mound, Texas, where each week a group of 10-15 youth gather to craft a monthly worship service. This ministry has brought about creative and unique worship, spiritual growth, three original worship songs, and hours of laughter and fellowship.

We will talk about how relational youth ministry encourages youth worship participation, hear from youth who have played pivotal roles in the worship life of their congregation, and walk through processes and strategies for empowering youth in your own congregation. The end goal of this workshop is to develop a strategy to encourage youth in local congregations to move beyond simply being “the singing” or even the “the singer” to become the crafter of “the song.”


Sectional 15Hillsong in Taiwan: The Musuhapa Movement and the Song of the Siraya People

Chia-An (Victor) Tung   

For many church congregations in Asia, localized worship expressions including singing have been problematic due to syncretistic concerns. However, for a popular group in Taiwan, a breakthrough seems to have been made. This narrative-participative session examines the congregational song practice of the Siraya people of Taiwan, and how it seeks to balance its cultural identity with existing western-based congregational song tradition. In particular, this expression, or use of song practice is an effective way to advocate and pressure the government for official recognition of the Siraya within the Musuhapa Movement.


Sectional 16Songs of Scripture and Song of the Church: What Does One Say to the Other?

Charles Freeman   

Even beyond the corpus of the Psalms there are a number of songs or hymns recorded in scripture, appearing in various contexts and presented in differing ways. What do these songs have to say about our practice of song in the church today? How do the songs of scripture inform and provoke our singing in the many and varied contexts of the church in this time?

From the famous “Christ hymn” of Philippians 2 to the lengthy and somewhat shocking Farewell Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32, from dedication songs by the choir in 1 and 2 Chronicles to singers and trumpets in Revelation, song is found in Scripture in settings both outside of worship and in liturgical use. These songs vary from praise and celebration to teaching and admonishing (to borrow the formula from Colossians 3). We will consider this array of songs not only for their suitability (or lack thereof) for modern use, but also for how they teach us about the many ways song works upon singers both within and outside of worship.

This sectional will include singing of both older songs and new.

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

3:00PM – Sectionals III

Sectional 17Youth Sing Hymns

Emily Floyd   

Who says that youth don’t like singing hymns? Let’s talk about how to make hymns come alive for our youth.  Sure, “Youth Sunday” is a perfect time to include our youth in worship leadership, but there are other ways to engage our youth in the joy of singing and leading hymns.


Sectional 18How Great Thou Art

Eric Nelson   

Eric Nelson is known for his deeply spiritual settings of familiar hymns. His arrangements are used extensively in worship and in concerts. Using examples from his own creative output, Eric will share insights into breathing new life into very familiar hymns.


Sectional 19 – Why Presbyterians (Finally) Sing Christmas Carols

Mel Wilhoit   

Although current Presbyterian hymnals abound with carols of Christmas season, Presbyterians have a colorful history of opposing the season’s celebration. This presentation traces how Presbyterian (and other Reformed traditions) morphed from opposing recognition/celebration of Christmas to a wholesale embrace of its traditions–especially its seasonal songs.


Sectional 20The Church Musician: Living and Working in Holy Space

Ken Nafziger, FHS   

This seminar will have two parts, one more philosophical, and the other more practical. The first part will reflect on finding a personal holy ground from which one works as a church musician. The second part will be more practical, finding and exploring ways of making a safe and holy ground for one’s congregation in the hymns we sing. This part will be based on this episode from Genesis 28:

Jacob woke from his sleep and said,

“Surely the LORD is in this place–and I did not know it!”

And he was afraid, and said,

“How awesome is this place!

This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”


Sectional 21Community Singing and Tragedy: The role of the music leader in the aftermath of violence

Hilary Donaldson, Andrew Butler

In the face of grief, music can express things that words alone can’t, and provide a space for a community’s fear, anger, and lament. This session will explore the role of congregational and community singing following a public tragedy or trauma. Sectional leaders Hilary Donaldson and Andrew Butler have both prepared major public vigil events in the aftermath of mass shootings in their communities. The session will include strategies for the church music leader in responding to tragedy, ideas for selecting and using music for a vigil or public ceremony, and a time for discussion. Through our shared experiences, we hope that more music leaders will be empowered to help their respective communities find their voice should the unspeakable occur. Trigger warning: Discussion of gun violence and death.


Sectional 22Love Unknown: How Queerness Shapes Congregational Song

Amy Cerniglia   

Even among traditions that would not have welcomed openly queer people or themes, queerness has shaped singing in traditions from Catholic to Southern Gospel hymnody. Hildegard of Bingen, Christina Rossetti, and John Bell represent just three members of the LGBT community with an enduring influence on church music. While hymn writers are freer to authentically express their identities today, the love of most LGBT hymn writers has remained relatively unknown until the 21st century.

In this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to reflect on how queer values such as chosen family, gender nonconformity, and same-sex unions have shaped congregational song. Through hymn singing, strangers and friends experience an intergenerational communal bond across boundaries that queer people exemplify through the tradition of “chosen family.” Women transgressed gender roles by leading the church through published hymns often before receiving formal permission to teach. Even gender-exclusive male language for God across the years offered healing from toxic masculinity as men expressed deeply intimate love for another male figure through hymn singing.

Not only for LGBT attendees, this workshop will broaden appreciation for congregational song among all people. Amy Cerniglia, featured in The Hymn Society’s Songs for the Holy Other, will trace the unique gifts that queer people have offered to the act of hymn singing across generations.


Sectional 23New Jubilate Hymns Collection

Jubilate Hymns   

A new collection of hymns from Jubilate Hymns in the UK. Supported and submitted by Hope Publishing.


Sectional 24“Finding God’s Song”, texts by John Core, tunes by Iteke Prins and James Clemens

Iteke Prins, James Clemens

New tune settings by Iteke Prins and James Clemens of hymn texts by John Core, published by Wayne Leupold Editions.

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

1:30PM – Sectionals IV

Sectional 25Keyboard Improvisation for Hymn Leaders

Wayne Wold   

This workshop will provide the basics of the whys and hows in creating improvisations on organ that will help introduce, lead, and enhance congregational singing.


Sectional 26TBA


Sectional 27Children & Hymns:  Helping them Understand and Love Hymnody

Karol Kimmell   

Help your children feel more in touch with your congregation’s hymnody. Why do adults keep singing these group songs? Children want to know what makes a hymn appreciated and beloved. Learn ways to find a hymn’s uniqueness, whether through repetition of text, rhythm, or melody, by seeing the overall plan of the hymn, by exploring the countries and cultures from which they come and by finding hymns from well-known classical composers or from classical music. We will walk through specific examples of each, including, but going beyond noting the name of the author, composer and tune title. An extensive list of hymns will be shared as well as a list of what is interesting in each. Empower yourself to become your children’s shepherd-in-hymnody!


Sectional 28Backup Vocals: How to Lead Worship

Chris Nolin   

      In this session offered by hymnal publisher WorshipNOW, Chris Nolin will present on a topic that is often discussed by those who use bands with backup vocals. Topics and Questions will include:

      1. What does it mean to worship? (Worship is an ACTION and a RESPONSE).
      2. What does it mean to perform? (Performance is the process of carrying out or accomplishing an ACTION, TASK or FUNCTION).
      3. A Worship Leader is called to facilitate an ENCOUNTER with Christ and INCREASE prayer.
      4. Preparation (Since God deserves our very best, all liturgical ministries require INTENTIONAL and PRAYERFUL preparation.)
      5. Execution (Our primary responsibility as Worship leaders is to foster FULL, CONSCIOUS, and ACTIVE participation).


      Sectional 29The Rose Carol Book: 50 Carols for the Seasons by Carl Schalk

      Randy Sensmeier   

      A showcase of the new collection of 50 carols by Carl Schalk, published by GIA Publications.


      Sectional 30 – Sounding Spirit: Tunebooks and Sacred Songs from the US South 

      Jesse P. Karlsberg

      Sounding Spirit is a collaborative research lab and publishing project that demonstrates the importance of sacred texts to the singers and communities who shape American music history and experience. Through congregational singing and short presentations, this workshop will highlight the impact and legacy of five significant tunebooks in the Sounding Spirit series: The Cherokee Singing Book (1846); The Story of the Jubilee Singers with their Songs (1875); Class, Choir, and Congregation (1888); Soul Echoes, No. 2 (1909); and Original Sacred Harp (1911). These volumes represent periods, places, and genres that illustrate the importance of vernacular songbooks to American sacred music. These tunebooks also document dynamic encounters among white, black, and native communities whose singing and worship are often represented as discrete. In addition to leading selections from each tunebook, Sounding Spirit editor-in-chief Jesse P. Karlsberg will co-present with the project’s volume editors on the significance of gospel, spirituals, and shape-note songbooks to both the history and practice of sacred song. Participating volume editors include leading scholars and worship directors Meredith Doster (Emory University), Sandra Graham (Babson College), Emmett Price III (Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary), and Sara Snyder (Western Carolina University).


      Sectional 31 – Every Breath Is Heaven’s Gift: New and Selected Hymns 

      Richard Leach

      A showcase of Selah’s newest collection of hymns by Richard Leach, with tunes by various composers.


      Sectional 32A Cappella Singing for the Average Congregation

      CJ Redden-Liotta   

      Even if your congregation is not filled with accomplished singers, a cappella singing can happen in your worship services! Using the guides for A Cappella Sunday provided by the Center for Congregational Singing as a starting point, we will discuss (and experience) best practices for making even the most timid congregation successful at singing without instrumental support.

      Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

      3:00PM – Sectionals V

      Sectional 33Protest of Praise: 50 New Hymn Texts by David Bjorlin

      David Bjorlin   

      A showcase of David Bjorlin’s first single-author text collection published by GIA Publications.


      Sectional 34Companions on the Journey:  An organist’s journey from console to congregation

      Jan Kraybill   

      Most organists’ training rarely includes skills in song leadership/enlivening beyond the organ console. In today’s richly varied congregational song environment, all church musicians are called to constantly expand their horizons. My journey from a role primarily as an organist to one also comfortable leading singing apart from my instrument has required learning new skills, repertoire, and confidence. I am grateful to The Hymn Society for opportunities to learn from master song enliveners in action; their example and my experience has led to much richer relationships with the congregations I serve. This sectional will include skill-sharing, confidence-building, and practical examples, in hopes of inspiring your journey to ever-expanding roles in the Song, the Singer, the Singing.


      Sectional 35Bringing Negro Spirituals to Life

      Dollie Howell Pankey   

      This sectional will provide hands-on guidance in preparing to teach spirituals both by rote and by note. We will engage choral scores and discuss performance practice, score study, and rehearsal techniques to aid in approaching the Negro spiritual tradition for more authentic preparation and performance.


      Sectional 36Why We Sing at the Threshold: The Songs, The Singers, The Singing

      Joanne Reynolds   

      Because “we believe that the holy act of singing together shapes faith, heals brokenness, transforms lives, and renews peace,” then it makes sense for us to be able to live out that belief by singing to people who are at the threshold between this life and the next. This sectional will explore how we can take our love of congregational song and use it beneficially in a small, deeply intimate environment with someone who is facing death. Join us to talk about—and sing—the songs that can be used in these special circumstances.


      Sectional 37Get connected through singing! God, Spirit, Culture, and People  Pilgrimage of Music Life of Chai Hoon Park, Father of Korean Church Music

      Hyun Hee (Deborah) Park   

      Get connected through singing! God, Spirit, Culture, and People

      Pilgrimage of Music Life of Chai Hoon Park, Father of Korean Church Music

      The Republic of Korea is well-known for its dynamic practice of Christianity. From tens of thousands gathering for worship on Sundays to its heightened fervor practice of corporate prayer, “Tong Sung Ki Do” and robust singing in the early morning of weekdays, congregational music-making has always been a major part of its spirituality.

      My session seeks to introduce Park, Chai Hoon, the first Korean hymnodist whose music-making and life influenced and shaped the development of Korean church music.

      In his early musical career, his musical interests and expressions were influenced by the 18-19th century of the West. He learned Korean traditional music in a way that Korean-Western composers understood traditional music. In his mid-career, he was trying to get closer to Korean traditional music. He published hymns and anthems through a series of a book called “Chanmi”, which brought Korean music to the church. Starting from this period, he began to show interest in Korean music traditions and to focus on big music such as Passion music and opera.

      Park’s music-making has always tried to relate to the Church and its worship expressions. His advocacy comes from a deeply held conviction that the singing congregation is the primary user of his music. Thus, he believes that Korean congregational song should be a reflection of its own congregational life – connecting with God in the worshipers’ socio-cultural context.


      Sectional 38Introducing Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymns

      Joseph Herl, Peter Reske

      Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymns, published at the end of 2019, is the first hymnal companion in English for which the earliest sources of every hymn were consulted. Its authors examined 2,813 texts, translations, tunes, and settings from 1,527 unique primary sources collected from 308 libraries and from digital repositories on the internet. Based on this information, 564 attributions given in the printed hymnal would be changed, an average of nearly one changed attribution per hymn.

      This sectional describes the changed attributions and presents interesting and significant findings from the research.


      Sectional 39 – New Collection from SELAH

      Selah Representative   

      A showcase of one of Selah’s new hymn collections.


      Sectional 40Song Writers Colloquium

      Sarah Hart   

      This annual sectional provides an opportunity for participants to learn some best-practices on song (text & tune together) writing from song-writer and congregational song mentor Sarah Hart. Participants will also have the opportunity to submit their own songs ahead of time for personal feedback from the sectional leader.

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