Class Session Details

Susan Eernisse (Elementary Voices) - Editor of The Chorister, the journal for church musicians published by Choristers Guild. She also serves on the staff of First Baptist Church, Carrollton, GA, as Director of Christian Education & Children’s Music.

  • Singing’s a Breeze with Vocal-eeze!: Teaching children to sing should be fun for the singers and for the teacher! We will explore some tried and true singing games, vocal warm-ups, breath extenders, articulators and more.

  • Nuts and Bolts of Successful Rehearsal Planning: Let’s dig into the director’s tool box as we address: developing age-appropriate lessons; moving from rote learning to following the musical score; creative ways to introduce a new song – and more!

  • Hands, Head, and Heart: Teaching music to active learners through multiple pathways: Children learn in a variety of ways. Instruments, rhythmic props, speech & drama, movement and more…make learning purposeful and long-lasting.

Christopher Ahrens (Youth Voices) - Choral Director, McKinney North High School, McKinney TX

  • Choral Conducting: Bringing Meaning to the Gesture: Mr. Ahrens has experienced great success working with Youth of all abilities, attention levels and backgrounds. He will share his experience of making “classical conducting” gestures work in an ADHD World.

  • Rehearsal Best Practices:  An Approach to Choosing and Teaching Quality Literature: Our youth value quality in their lives, and they know quality choral music when they sing it. Mr. Ahrens' experience is informed by his work with his exceptional High School and Church Youth Choirs in North Texas.

  • Vocal Health and Technique:  Tips for Student and Director Vocal Health: So much that happens outside of our choir rooms is competing to harm our voices, and the way we use our voice in rehearsals can also be unhealthy! Learn about or be reminded of simple and sensible ways to maintain the instrument in prime shape!

Stephanie Rhoades (Handbells) - Minister of Music and the Arts at Northaven United Methodist Church, Dallas TX. Conductor, Concert Bells of Fort Worth.

  • Creating Great Rehearsals: We spend the majority of our handbell ringing existence rehearsing rather than performing so rehearsals need to be meaningful and enjoyable.We will explore thorough planning before rehearsal, efficient execution and strong leadership during rehearsal, and causal analysis after rehearsal. Suitable for ringers and directors!

  • Creative Use of Handbells in Worship:  We will explore ways that we can use handbells/handchimes in worship beyond playing "bell anthems." Using just a few handbells or a whole choir, we can incorporate them liturgically in a variety of ways to enhance our worship experience.

  • Reading Session

Jorge Lockward (Worship) - Minister of Worship Arts at The Church of the Village in New York City, Former Director, Global Praise Program of the General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, and lecturer on worship at Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY.

  • Beyond Music: Designing Powerful Worship Moments: This workshop will explore Intention, Vehicle(s), and Hospitality as a paradigm to imagine and create Worship moments. It will provide concrete examples for building powerful worship moments with music using this model. It will invite participants to imagine, design and create moments for their own contexts. Particular emphasis will be given to the ways diverse worship arts (music, speech, theatre, dance, visuals, etc.) can interact in the design of poignant worship moments. 

  • Building Sacred Memory: Reclaiming Musical Ordinaries: This workshop will explore how a creative engagement of the ancient practice of musical ordinaries (musical elements that repeat from week to week) can help congregations  to reach their next level of strong, engaged and theologically rich congregational singing.

Craig Jessop (Adult Voices) - Professor of Music and the founding Dean for the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University.

  • “That they all may be one” John 17:21 - The key to great choral singing-Part I:  Musicianship – Pitch & Rhythm

  • “That they all may be one”  John 17:21 - The Key to great choral Singing-Part II:  Vocal Technique & Diction Techniques

  • The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, An American Choral Legacy: An Audio/Visual Presentation of Dr. Jessop’s experience with America’s Best Known Choir and the history of the choir.

John Feierabend (Pre-School) - Professor Emeritus of Music Education at The Hartt School of the University of Hartford.

  • First Steps in Vocal Music — Vocal Development in the Early Years: During the early learning years, children can acquire musical sensitivities which will provide them with a lifetime of expressive and accurate singing intuitions.  This lively session will present insights and activities that can foster those intuitions in children from three to age nine, through the use of folk songs and games.

  • 12 Steps to Music Literacy Using Conversational Solfege: Through carefully sequenced activities this fun workshop will demonstrate how to enable students to joyfully assimilate the content and skills necessary to become musically literate including the acquisition of listening, rhythmic and melodic reading, dictation, composition, and improvisation in an intuitive manner. Participants will experience a curriculum that grows out of tonal and rhythmic elements that exist in the folk song literature.  Each rhythm or tonal element will be explored in patterns, songs and themes from classical literature.

  • Tuneful, Beatful, and Artful Singing in Upper Elementary:  In this session participants will experience vocal activities intended for students in mid to upper elementary school. Here are great activities and songs to further develop good vocal technique through vocal warm-ups, fragment singing, whole songs, and the development of part-singing.

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

2019 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