"WHAT I DID LAST SUMMER"
This past July I attended four conferences back-to-back. More than enough riches to carry me all year. Those of you who have never attended one of the worship conferences like those listed at the right should really make an effort to go, preferably with financial support and additional members from your church. These conferences are always mountain peaks for those who need to "refuel" for another year of worship leadership. At least one a year would be a healthy dose for any worship leader and worship committee member.
My first conference last summer was the Hymn Society in San Diego. Every year I meet with ministers and musicians, hymn authors, composers, and editors, and those who just love to sing, young and old. It always gives me a foretaste of heaven: 350 plus singers in excellent acoustic spaces with wonderful accompanists (who also have us sing unaccompanied a great deal). I call it my annual "fix" of rich hymn singing that keeps a vision before me of what to work toward on the congregational level.
The second was a one-day invitational conference sponsored by the Worship Committee of the Christian Reformed Church. This committee is developing a report and materials to help understand what it means to be "Christian and Reformed at the Turn of the Millennium." You'll be reading more about its work in future issues of RW.
The third conference was COLAM 95 (Conference on Liturgy and Music), cosponsored every four years by RW and a Christian college, this time the Calvin College Department of Music. More rich fare, not only of hymn singing, but the full range of worship issues that churches deal with every Sunday. 1 have often wished for "a week of Sundays" so I could sample more of the riches of good preaching, music, visual arts, and drama. We had it that week. And we had children too, about sixty who signed up for the "music camp," including one entire children's choir from a Lutheran church in Chicago with their leaders. In all, 360 people came from twenty states, five provinces, and ten denominations. The leaders and speakers were outstanding, and you will meet many of them on the pages of RW in future issues.
My final conference (before I headed out with my camper for some very needed quiet!) was at the week-long Choristers Guild Seminar, also held in Grand Rapids. Can you imagine dozens of church choirs from around the country, each with their directors and many chaperones— in all 425 children from ages 6-18, and 200 adults? A college campus and dining hall takes on a very different look with that many kids around! I had the opportunity to lead seminars on our new children's hymnal Songs for LIFE. The choral directors did outstanding things with each age group, giving many children in small churches and small choirs the thrill of being in big choirs and learning a tremendous amount in one week. Some choirs work all year long to be able to attend this seminar (see RW 31, p. 22 for one story).
Well, that's what I did this past summer. I hope that every R W reader seriously considers attending a worship conference during 1996.
—Emily R. Brink, editor
Fort Lauderdale, Fla., January 9-14, 1996
21 st annual Church Music Explosion. Contact Shirley Raymond, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, 5555 N. Federal Hwy Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308; (305) 771-8840. ext. 172.
Grand Rapids, Mich., January 12-13, 1996
Ninth Annual Symposium on Worship and Church Music at Calvin College. Contact: Department of Music, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Ml 49546; (616) 957-6253.
Grand Rapids, Mich., April 18-20, 1996
"Praise and Lament in the Christian Life," with Walter Brueggemann, Elizabeth Achtemeier, and others. Contact: Calvin Seminary 3233 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, Ml 40546, (616) 957-6036; fax: (616) 957-8621.
Baltimore, Md., April 19-20, 1996
Music in Worship Conference, at Chapelgate Presbyterian Church. Contact: Presbyterian Church in America, 1852 Century Place, Alanta, GA 30345; (404) 320-3388; fax: (404) 329-1280.
Montreat, N.C., June 16-22, 1996;
Montreat, N.C.,June 23-29;
Westminster, Penn., July 7-13;
Albuquerque, N.M., July 14-20
Presbyterian Association of Musicians Conferences. Contact: PAM National Office, 100 Witherspoon St.. Louisville, KY 40202-1396; (502) 569-5288; fax: (502) 569-5018.
Kansas City, Kan., July 7-12, 1996;
Grand Rapids, Mich., July 21-26, 1996
Choristers Guild Summer Seminars. Contact: Barbara Merry Conference Coordinator, Choristers Guild, 2834 W Kingsley Road. Garland, TX 75041; (214) 271-1521.
Oberlin, Ohio, July 14-18,1996
Annual conference of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada at Oberlin College. Contact: The Hymn Society, PO Box 30854, Fort Worth, TX 76129; (817) 921-7608; fax: (817) 921-7333.