Workshop Offerings (as of February 18, 2019)

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! ( 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

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

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

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

Taking UU Choirs Into the Community to Build Relationships With People of Different Faith Traditions

In the workshop, I will show how I was able to create project themes that would resonate across faith lines and bring in people of different faith traditions to sing together. I will give workshop participants ideas of how they can involve their choirs more in their own communities. I will talk about ways to offer benefit concerts that will fund organizations of local interest. I will show how I was able to get our choir performances onto the program of the Parliament of World Religions in Salt Lake in 2015, and then invite singers from across the country to sing with us.

Mary Lou Prince's work for Japanese koto and shakuhachi won national composition awards. She has composed music for Geisha musicians, theater, film and a TV documentary that was shortlisted for an Emmy Award.

Mary Lou Prince

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