The World Sings

In preparing to celebrate The Hymn Society’s centennial during 2022, we sponsored a webinar series for 2021 – 2022 entitled “The World Sings,” featuring expert voices on congregational singing around the globe.
All of the presentations will also be available as recordings for registrants to view for an extended period of time. Here is the schedule of programs:
  • November 8: Kim Harris, “The World Sings: Music Moving Movements”
  • December 13: Yasuhiko Yokosaka & Makihiko Arase, “The World Sings: Japanese Congregational Song”
  • January 10: Becca Whitla, “The World Sings: Decolonizing Congregational Song”
  • February 14: Adam Perez, “The World Sings: Praise and Worship”
  • March 14: María Cornou, “The World Sings: Latin American Song”
Registration for a single webinar is $25 for members, $35 for non-members, $15 for students. Registration for the full series of six webinars is $125 for members, $175 for non-members, and $75 for students.
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November 8: “The World Sings: Music Moving Movements” - Kim Harris

Dr. Kim R. Harris was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and currently resides in Upstate New York. She is a Liturgical Consultant for the Office of Black Ministry in the Archdiocese of New York. With her husband Reggie, Kim records and travels the nation, performing concerts, lecturing on the music of African American freedom traditions, and leading music in a variety of liturgical settings. Kim and Reggie specialize in singing Spirituals and freedom songs and present arts integration workshops, offered to educators, through The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

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December 13: “The World Sings: Japanese Congregational Song” - Yasuhiko Yokosaka & Makihiko Arase

Dr. Yokosaka’s career has consisted of hymnal preparation and hymn research and university teaching. He joined the Hymn Committee and the Hymnal Revision Committee of the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ), producing The Hymnal 21 (1997). He joined the faculty of Niigata University in Niigata where he teaches musicology and arts management. In this capacity he has produced many concerts with artists sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan. These world-renowned artists include Midori, Julliard String Quartet, Ludwig Chamber Players, New York Philharmonic’s Teaching Artists. With five others, ‘Yoko’ compiled a collection of 32 hymns from the Iona Community (1999) and 25 hymns by Carl P. Daw, Jr. (2002), both in Japanese translation. He became a founding member of the Hymn Society in Japan in 2001. In addition to his work as a hymnal editor, he has contributed 25 books on hymnody and Christian music. The focus of his research has been on the renewal of traditional Western hymnody in Japan, hymn writers of the Hymn Explosion of the 1960s–1980s, and recent Asian hymn repertoire. In March 2021 he was elected Professor Emeritus and a Fellow in the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences at Niigata University.


Makihiko (Mack) Arase is a Japanese hymn writer and an ordained minister of Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He pastors Asahi Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Yokohama and teaches liturgics, preaching practicum and church music at Japan Biblical Theological Seminary in Tokyo. He has been on the executive committee of the Hymn Society in Japan since its foundation and also serves on the editorial board of “Worship and Music”, a quarterly magazine published by the board of publications of the United Church of Christ in Japan. He is an active member of “Sambika Kobo” (Hymn Creation Workshop). Twenty-four of his texts are included in the recently published “Sambika Kobo Hymnal Vol.2”. He graduated from Sophia University (B.L.) and Tokyo Union Theological Seminary (M.Div.). When he studied at Memphis Theological Seminary in 1991-92, singing from “Presbyterian Hymnal” (1990) became a strong inspiration that oriented him to the world of hymnody.  As he frequently visited the U.S. as a member of the denominational board of missions until 2015, he always tried to expose himself to various liturgical traditions and musical styles of the country.

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January 10: “The World Sings: Decolonizing Congregational Song” - Becca Whitla

Becca Whitla is the professor of pastoral studies at St. Andrew’s College in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where she teaches worship and liturgy, preaching, and religious education. Her book Liberation, (De)Coloniality, and Liturgical Practices: Flipping the Song Bird was released in December, 2020 (Palgrave McMillan). From her White Euro-Canadian settler perspective, she examines ways to decolonize liturgical practices, especially community singing. She worked in Toronto for many years as a music director in both Anglican and United Churches (Church of the Holy Trinity, and Trinity St Paul’s United Church). She also co-directed Echo, a 70 voice women’s choir, and worked in the trade union movement developing leadership through choral singing.

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February 14: “The World Sings: Praise and Worship” - Adam Perez

Dr. Adam Perez holds a doctor of theology degree from Duke University Divinity School. He researches the history and theology of contemporary praise and worship musics. He is a worship leader and a member of the CRCNA denomination where he also serves as an endorsed worship coach. He currently holds the position of postdoctoral associate in worship at Duke University Divinity School where he teaches, writes, and assists with chapel.

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March 14: “The World Sings: Latin American Song” - María Cornou

María Eugenia Cornou is Associate Director and Program Manager for International and Intercultural Learning for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, María holds a PhD from the Free University of Amsterdam as well as degrees in public accounting and theology. She is the co-managing editor of the bilingual (English-Spanish) hymnal Santo, Santo, Santo / Holy, Holy, Holy (GIA Publications, 2019).

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