Programming

Offerings (as of May 16, 2019)

This year's conference features a Songleaders Convergence (SLC) in addition to the General Conference. This is not a separate event and attendees do not need to register for it. It is simply a focus or "track." All registrants will attend the same large-group sessions (e.g., worship, repertoire reading, etc.) Then during the Workshop sessions, attendees will choose from a variety of offerings (see below). Those marked with SLC may be of particular interest to songleaders but are open to everyone. The "track" is informal and attendees may choose to stay on it or to hop on and off as they choose.

Songleaders Convergence

Sessions

Circle Songs (SLC)

Community song improvisation led by Francisco Ruiz Pattee.

A Conversation on Language, Inclusion, and Changing Lyrics (SLC)

A panel with Cecelia Hayes, Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout facilitated by Rev. Sofia Betancourt.

Song Swaps (SLC)

A circle for participants to share community songs of faith and justice, facilitated by Sara Green.

Collaboration in Worship Leading (SLC)

Best practices for shared ministry in planning and leading worship. Led by Rev. Sofia Betancourt, Annie Scott, Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout

Songleading and Preaching (SLC)

Exploring the intersections of community singing and preaching. How they interact and overlap in worship. How preaching and community singing lift each other up. Rev. Sofia Betancourt & Sarah Dan Jones

Songleading for Worship (SLC)

Specific techniques and best practices for teaching songs to a congregation in a worship setting. Amanda Thomas & Cecelia Hayes

Songleading for Rallies and Demonstrations (SLC)

Songs for mobilization and inspiration. Singing as crowd control and community care. Techniques and practices for singing in the streets. Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen & Sara Green

Songleading Masterclass 1 (SLC)

A community learning session, where a few participants will have a chance to practice teaching and leading community songs and will be offered thoughtful feedback from our facilitators, Dr. Emily Jaworski & Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout

Songleading Masterclass 2 (SLC)

A community learning session, where a few participants will have a chance to practice teaching and leading community songs and will be offered thoughtful feedback from our facilitators, Sarah Dan Jones & Jennie Mulqueen.

Story, Context, & Introductions (SLC)

How to weave context and meaning into songleading. Exploring the importance of the songs’ history, meaning, culture, and origins. Led by Cecelia Hayes & Matt Meyer.

Vocal Basics & Techniques (SLC)

Tools, techniques, and practices for finding your most powerful and authentic voice. Presented by Dr. Emily Jaworski & Francisco Ruiz

Presenters

Matt Meyer graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2004, where he studied hand drumming and world music. During that time, he also studied abroad in Cuba, Ghana, and Central America. Since then, Matt has led music and worship for hundreds of services in congregations around the country

Cecelia Hayes is the great-grand-daughter, grand-daughter, daughter, sister, and mother of singers. She grew up in Memphis, TN and sang her first solo to choruses of "Amen" in a Baptist Church at the age of 10. Movement Music, soul, blues, jazz and R&B were always floating in the air around her. She learned to harmonize to make sure she could be heard above the din. Cecelia began studying classical voice as a teen and studied art song and aria forms for 14 years. It never kept her out of a good rock & roll band. She considers Contralto her vocal sweet spot. Music is her breath.

Dr. Emily Jaworski is an active performer in classical, musical theatre, pop, and jazz. She teaches voice at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and holds a doctorate in vocal performance from Boston University. She's a registered yoga teacher and a dedicated student of the Alexander Technique.

Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout is Director of Worship and Music for First UU Congregation of Ann Arbor, where he has served for eleven years. He has served as choral director for the 2016 General Assembly and the 2018 NW Regional Assembly. He is the 2013 winner of the ACDA National Conducting Competition.

Amanda M. Thomas is a vocal soloist, and vocal instructor in the Chicago area. She earned a B. A. in music from Saint Xavier University of Chicago, where she studied voice and choral conducting. She is the current Director of Music at Second Unitarian Church of Chicago.

Hailing from Ecuador, Francisco Ruiz Pattee is a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and Director of Music at the UU Church of Long Beach. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Francisco has been a vocal educator for over 8 years specializing in Vocal Improvisation, Jazz and Circle Singing. He has worked with Bobby Mcferrin, Ivan Lins, U2, Luis Enrique, Marcos Valle, among many others.

General Workshops

AUUMM Music Database Practicum

What do you do when your minister asks for a choir anthem that will complement a service on welcoming refugees? or Earth Day? or Buddhism? You'll search for songs using our AUUMM Music Database, of course! (auumm.org/database) In this workshop, the editor of the Database will give you practical, hands-on experience in filtering and sorting music selections to find the perfect piece. We will also discuss how to easily add your own suggestions to the database.

Beth Syverson is the Director of Music Ministries at Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church in Orange County, California and organizer of the AUUMM Music Database which she uses every week to help find music to complement worship services.

Beth Syverson

Basic Conducting

One gesture can save a nervous choir, or convince the singers of a more beautiful sound. We influence the choir’s togetherness, its beauty, its success, even its intonation with the way we conduct. How exciting the possibilities; how daunting to begin. Exploring fundamental techniques for conducting choirs in the standard canon and gospel tradition. Open to all, particularly tailored to beginning and intermediate conductors.

Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout is Director of Worship and Music for First UU Congregation of Ann Arbor, where he has served for eleven years. He has served as choral director for the 2016 General Assembly and the 2018 NW Regional Assembly. He is the 2013 winner of the ACDA National Conducting Competition.

Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout

The Black Aesthetic

Determine to see our music through our lens and from our perspective as creative beings who articulate through our artistically creative narratives which are different than other cultural narratives, are just as valid in every form, and in no wise inferior. To understand us as fellow human beings it is imperative to interact with us on a more intimate human level outside of congregational settings. Our music reflects who we are beyond the surface and can be a critical vehicle to understanding us as a people.

Dr. Philip J. Rogers served as Choral Conductor at Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, Indiana; Conductor of the University Black Chorus at the University of Illinois; Choral Conductor at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois; Adjunct Voice Professor at Spelman College of Atlanta; and is a vocal performer and vocal coach.

Dr. Philip Rogers

Body Awareness for Choirs

Learn some practical ways to implement body awareness in your choir rehearsals. Singers gain more confidence and freedom, and you get a better sound! Make sure that no one else wastes a second of their life trying to "sing from the diaphragm"!

Dr. Emily Jaworski is an active performer in classical, musical theatre, pop, and jazz. She teaches voice at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and holds a doctorate in vocal performance from Boston University. She's a registered yoga teacher and a dedicated student of the Alexander Technique.

Dr. Emily Jaworski

Get the “Wite-Out”: The Culture of Revisionism in UU Music

Whether a matter of perceived conflict with UU theology/UU “culture,” concerns about cultural appropriation, “authentic” cultural and historical expression, or broader political imperatives, UU musicians face challenges developing repertoire deemed “appropriate” for use in a UU context. Using paired and group discussion as its format, this workshop will explore the historical and contemporary impetus for revision, redaction, or flat out avoidance of music with content deemed politically or theologically “problematic” for UU church repertoire.

Beverly Horton has been actively engaged in music ministry at First Unitarian Church of Hamilton as a chorister, soloist, and Chair of the Music Committee. Jyvonne Haskin is Exec. Dir. of Operations for Selah Gospel Choir, known for her work on Get Out and with the DC6 Singers, recently featured on Hollywood Game Night.

Beverly Horton and Jyvonne Haskin

Injecting Baroque Choral Works With Style and Vitality

Harpsichordist and early music specialist Vivian Montgomery offers a workshop to help choir leaders in bringing more dance, more expression, more flexibility, and greater relevance to learning and performing music from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. While vocal techniques and practices play some role in creating clarity and shape in this music, the most relatable and vibrant elements are found in understanding the music as speech, hearing and feeling harmony, being rhythmically playful, and knowing that the notation is just a skeleton.

Dr. Vivian Montgomery, DMA, is an award-winning harpsichordist and fortepianist on the faculty of the Longy School of Music. As a conductor, Vivian has led opera, orchestral, and choral performances for three decades and seres as Director of Music at the historic Follen Church.

Dr. Vivian Montgomery

Meaning Matters: Unlocking Anthem Messages and Accidentally Improving Everything About Choir

It started by nagging my choir for better facial expression. It wound up changing a lot more.

It’s called Meaning Matters and it’s like a performance enhancement drug with great side effects: deeper connection between singer and song, better communication of messages, higher levels of musicality, and—yes—more expressive faces. And, bonus! Singing is more fun. Turns out when we get up-close and personal with our songs, everything improves.

Come sing real live anthems and learn how they can be more than mere accessories to Sunday services. Make your choir a fun, vital part of spiritual growth.

Dr. Kathy Mittelman has been Choir Director at Emerson UU Congregation near Atlanta for 15 years. She also teaches music at Kennesaw State University.

Dr. Kathy Mittelman

Memorable Worship: Planning & Leading with Spirit & Intention

Over the past three years, Kellie Walker Hart has been planning and leading extended prayer times in worship at Valley Unitarian Universalist. Music can be central in connecting UUs to their Judeo-Christian roots, while allowing ways for people with varied religious beliefs to enter into a meaningful group spiritual experience. Come experience ways to create such moments by weaving silence, music, ritual, prayer and spoken word together. Practical suggestions in adapting some of Marcia McFee's worship design concepts and technological tools to make worship planning easier will also be provided.

Kellie Walker Hart is Minister of Music at Valley UU in Arizona, where she has been for over 25 years. She has had extensive training in worship design and was GA Music Coordinator in 2011 & 2012.

Kellie Walker Hart

Responding to Anxiety and Change

We live in highly anxious times. Worship and Music leaders are called to bring a calming presence to their congregations experiencing the stresses of life. This workshop will provide ways to lead without adding to the anxiety and change that exists in our congregations and the world.

Rev. Dr. Richard Speck is a retired District Executive for the Joseph Priestley District and teacher of Emotional Systems Thinking

Rev. Dr. RIchard Speck

The Psalms Are Still Speaking

Rev. Tamara Lebak is combining her sermon writing discipline with her love for songwriting to reimagine the Psalms for a new generation. The Psalms are beautifully situated at the intersection of our Christianity, Judaism, Islam and poetic lament. At a pace of nearly one a week in order for over a year, Tamara's music are a reflection of the Psalms through her Universalist theology and cultural competence lens. The music is simple, the lyrics are memorable and the depth is not lost. Come explore the Psalms and sing along with she and her wife Bonnie (an entrepreneurial non-denominational pastor).

Rev. Tamara Lebak is a UU minister internationally certified executive coach, published author, and gestalt trained organizational development consultant. Rev. Bonnie Lebak is a bivocational non denominational minister who started a church in Tulsa, OK in her living room with 8 attendees who now serves a predominantly LGBTQ Christian congregation.

Rev. Tamara Lebak and Rev. Bonnie Lebak

Songwriting for Worship

Participants will have an introduction to writing for contemporary worship. We will examine chord progressions, melodies, and lyrics. We will also have an overview of expression, arrangement, composition, and performance. The end goal is for each participant to begin their own worship songs.

Josh Long serves as the Music and Membership Coordinator Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis and is a student at Wesley Theological Seminary studying to become a Minister.

Josh Long

Transgender Voice: The Art & Science of Clinical Care

Communication is the core of our human experience. Many transgender people experience deep feelings of unease because their voices do not align with their inner gender identity or their outward gender expression. Speech-language pathologists have been one of the key professionals to offer our expertise to this sub-group of our citizenry.

This workshop will provide the foundation for the anatomical, functional and practical changes that occur in the voice during a gender transition. Participants will be guided through hands-on techniques and strategies that speech pathologists specializing in transgender voice training, usually provide their patients. Demonstration of techniques will lead to a discussion how one might adapt singing techniques for trans feminine and trans masculine people. “Transgender voice is a difference, not a disorder.”

Kath Perez

Vocal Coalition

When we run our music programs with values we inherited from one specific cultural world, we may inadvertently exclude individuals from our communities who don't experience music, culture, or even rehearsal structure the way we do.

Travis Branam- leader of Denver's growing youth choir program Vocal Coalition- will guide session participants through a framework that will help you cultivate the trusting relationships and safe spaces necessary to host authentic, cross-cultural musical experiences at your church (and beyond!) that can unify communities that don't normally cross paths.

Travis Branan

Why Altos Get Bored, And How to Fix That: Vocal Arranging That Keeps Everyone Happy

Alexander Pope was right—"a little knowledge is a dangerous thing," even when it comes to vocal arranging. Students of basic music theory classes often find the new "rules" they've learned make it HARDER, not easier, to make great music. Come talk about some of the "sacred cows" of music theory, and why some of them (sometimes) need to be put out to pasture. Your altos will thank you!

David Glasgow is the music director for the UU congregation in Boiling Springs, PA, and has little patience for vocal boredom.

David Glasgow