CMI saw church music leaders from Oregon to Virginia at the four events where CMI offered inspiration, resources and training for those leading the music of the church. June saw well-attended workshops in Texas (Christ United Methodist Church in Plano) and Portland, Oregon (Calvin Presbyterian in Tigard). July brought rich sessions with the Colorado American Choral Directors Association in Denver. August gave us the pleasure of hosting leaders in our own offices in Dallas to plan for the fall through Epiphany. Here are some highlights of the summer:
- The Rev. Dr. Charles Brown, our Paul Lindsley Thomas Lecturer, helped us “think outside the box” to understand how all we do can reach the ultimate goal of worshiping God through Rhythm, Rhetoric, and Desire. He stretched our brains, and we did not mind!
- Phyllis Ernsberger, a Portland area church musician was inspired by Dr. Brown’s lectures to write an article included in this newsletter.
- Dr. Don Horisberger inspired us with real life stories from the Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest, IL, where excellence and ministry in music live happily together week after week, year after year. We learned how to reach for the best.
- Drs. John and Susan Buehler, retired from Baker University but hardly retired, led practical and effective sessions in Portland for maximizing musicality in volunteer church choral singers.
- Colorado ACDA attendees drank in statistics about the importance of choral singing in church:80% of all choirs reside in churches, and their singers provide important outreach to their communities to achieve the mission of the church in the world. Attendees also experimented with various forms of Psalm singing and reflected on how each could be used with congregations to enrich worship.
- August brought 25 leaders to the CMI office to work with Hal Hopson on Psalm and Communion singing, with Robert Mann on thoughtful hymn singing, and to explore the on-site resources of the eLibrary, including hard copies of the 7,000 online anthems and the many bound volumes of other music and planning resources. Heard on that day: “We can’t believe how many resources you have!” “You actually have an office and it is beautiful!” “I’m ready for the fall now!”
- And we often hear about CMI music or resources: “You sort to the accessible and quality music/resources I want to use so I don’t have to go through piles of it myself!”
Now we are working to expand our eLibrary (always) and updating the technology to support it, launching a research survey among PCUSA churches, developing the course project of the last few years, and planning for 2015 events that begin in January with the Tallahassee Sacred Music Conference and February Festival of Church Music in Charlotte, North Carolina. And of course, there is Summer, 2015 to anticipate! Thanks for all your support and interest in church music. I’m convinced those who love church music are the best people in the world. Charlotte Kroeker