Clinician Biographies and Class Sessions

Tom Shelton (Adult Voices) - Assistant Professor of Sacred Music at Westminster Choir College

  • Creativity in Worship: Using Sacred Space and Song to Enhance the Worship Experience

  • Getting Out of the Rut: Techniques and Strategies to Energize Weekly Rehearsals

  • Combined Choir Anthems throughout the Church Season: A Reading Session that features Music for a combination of choirs within the church music program: Adult, Youth, Children, Handbells, and various Instruments.

Kimberly Ahrens (Elementary Voices) - Director of Choral Activities at Robinson Middle School in Plano, Texas. Director of Children's Choirs at the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Dallas. Conductor of the Apprentice Chorus at The Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas

  • Building Tone and Effective Rehearsal Habits: Discover fun ways to develop and reinforce beautiful tone in your choristers, as well as excellent rehearsal techniques that will last a lifetime.

  • From Score Study to Teaching Implementation: Learn how to analyze your music with teaching and sequencing in mind.  Ahrens will offer ideas about score study and will present strategies for creating a teaching plan for your music.

  • Conducting your Children’s Choir: Examine conducting gestures and techniques that can help your youngest choir members take their performance to the next level.

Tim Morrison (Youth) - Associate Minister of Music/Worship, Custer Road United Methodist Church, Plano, Texas. Adjunct Professor at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

  • Change With the Times...or...Endure the Consequences: The current culture is not as friendly for church youth choirs. What must remain steady and what might change in your youth choir setting? 

  • Guaranteed Success: Don't start a program, (or continue a program) without the absolute assurance of success!

  • Carrots -- Creative Incentives:  This is way more than choir tours.

Hart Morris (Handbells) - Composer, arranger, and publisher of handbell and choral music

  • Mastering Mallet Maneuverability: It can’t be mastered in 75 minutes, but this will definitely be a good beginning.

  • Who’s Keeping Score?:  Play/discuss/dissect one easy arrangement, “Song of the Cross,” by Sherman, in search of the most musical interpretation.

  • Reading Session

Marcia McFee (Worship) - Worship designer and leader, professor, preacher and artist

  • Anatomy of a Design: Drawing on her concepts of planning sensory-rich worship for meaningful messages without getting burned out, Dr. Marcia McFee will take participants through the steps of how she created her “Roll Down Justice” Lent worship series featuring the music of frequent collaborator, Mark Miller. Find out how to design unforgettable worship on a consistent basis and successful (and less stressful) ways to collaborate with a team (even if you don’t have one).

  • Top Tips from "Think Like a Filmmaker”: Since presenting the popular keynote at a previous Chorister’s event about her research into filmmaking analogies that can help us enhance our worship arts, Dr. McFee has completed her best-selling book, “Think Like a Filmmaker: Sensory-Rich Worship for Unforgettable Messages.” This session will offer key learnings from that research and top tips for each of the worship arts (verbal, visual, media, music and dramatic arts) that can transform the way you think about worship design.

Mark Miller (Worship) - Associate Professor of Church Music and Composer In Residence at Drew University in Madison, NJ. Lecturer in the Practice of Sacred Music at Yale University. Minister of Music of Christ Church in Summit, New Jersey

  • Sacred Song and Social Justice: choir & congregational music for today's world: Just as Martin Luther was passionately interested in renewing and reviving worship for 16th century Christians, we should be just as passionate about worship in the 21st century church. The worshipping community needs congregational and choral music that is responsive to our time and place in the world today. We will examine and sing music I composed on themes of welcome and hospitality, social justice, including rights of all people and care for the earth.

  • Playing Off the Page: leading songs in non-western classical styles: In this workshop we will explore how we can lead music from South Africa to Contemporary Christian Music to Black Gospel with integrity and joy.

Nan Grantham (Pre-School) - Composer, writer (Growing in Grace), clinician, educator and Choristers Guild rockstar (Language of Music series) 

  • There’s No One Exactly Like Me!: The title phrase of a preschool song…and truly an apt description of some precious young lives that we have the opportunity to touch through song! And it all begins with the “coo’s” of a baby! Come and join us as we see how this develops into melody. We will talk about tone and matching pitches, too—and all in a manner that both gifted and inexperienced teachers can use—at church, at school, and at home. And if you are a new leader, and feel “there’s no one exactly like you,” we’ll help you get started!

  • Elephants Have Wrinkles: Another title phrase of a preschool song…and such fun it is! Studies tell us the fabulous folds in an elephants’ skin keeps them cool! Agreeing that rhythm and movement offer “cool” experiences for preschoolers, we will work more with rhythm in this session. We will incorporate an expansive variety of instruments in the process—real ones of course, but even better, the body instruments and environmental instruments. You may be amazed at all you can do with paper plates! And if there’s a little “wrinkle” in your lesson plans, we will try to help with that, too!

  • Feed My Lambs: This well-known anthem for children offers a challenge to every teacher. We have them for such a short time…and yet such an important time in their development of skills and of values. What can we give them that will guide them in that intangible element of music called expression—what the music says to them, or how they can use music to speak to others? We will also remind ourselves that they are not “miniature adult choirs,” and consider opportunities for performance or alternate ways in which they can present their songs.


*Please note the possibility of session topic changes and/or time slot changes to accommodate both our registrants and clinicians.

2018 Schedule At A Glance


7:45-8:30am -- Registration + Visit Exhibits

8:30-9:45am -- Class Session A

10:00-11:00am -- Reading Session

11:00-11:30am -- Break/Visit Exhibits

11:30-12:30pm -- Worship

12:30-1:30pm -- Lunch (included in registration) 

1:30-2:45pm -- Session B

2:45-3:15pm -- Break/Visit Exhibits

3:15-4:30pm -- Session C

4:45-5:45pm -- Reading Session

5:15-6:30pm -- Visit Exhibits