15 Summer Conferences for Church Musicians

This morning, it's 18 degrees here in Rochester, NY, and it's been snowing for 36 hours straight (oh hey, Winter Storm Stella), but summer is coming! And with summer, come lots of opportunities for learning, growing, and networking with other church musicians.

Summer conferences are a great way to stay connected with others in the field; learn new things about playing, singing, directing, and teaching; find inspiration for creating meaningful and engaging worship services; and hear about all the latest releases - choral music, handbell music, children's choir resources, instrumental collections, etc.

If you've been following along for a while, I'm sure you've heard me talk about Music and Worship Arts Week at Lake Junaluska (NC). I've been attending this conference on and off since I was in high school and it never disappoints. I always walk away feeling refreshed, inspired, and ready to get back to work. (P.S. I just completed my registration for this year's conference - will you be there?)

Whether you're a church musician, director, accompanist, choir member, student, worship leader, pastor, or liturgist, there is a summer conference out there for you.

Here are a few to consider (sorted by date):

When Dancing Turns to Mourning: Worshiping God in the Face of Violence
Yale University, Institute of Sacred Music
June 13-15, 2017 | New Haven, CT

An ecumenical conference for pastors, musicians, and other parish leaders

"Across generations and cultures, the worship, music, and art of the church make public witness to the human pain violence brings and to God’s presence with those who suffer in its wake. Amid today’s media-driven awareness and widespread fear, how can the worship, music, and art of Christian congregations offer courage to those who are anxious, help to those who are suffering, and long-term formation in ways of peace? What testimony can hymnody, preaching, and forms of prayer—ancient and new—provide?"

Read more details

The 2017 National Conference on Worship Music & The Arts
Wels Commission on Worship
June 13-16, 2017 | Kenosha, WI
June 27-30, 2017 | Irvine, CA

For pastors, church musicians, choir members, instrumentalists, youth, and children

This conference includes dozens of presentations, concerts, and recitals, and opportunities to sing or play in a children's choir, high school honor choir, festival choir, or orchestra. You'll find lots of inspiration to take back to your own church and numerous opportunities to network with other church musicians and leaders.

Read more details

Then Sings My Soul
Presbyterian Association of Musicians
June 18-24, 2017 & June 25-July 1, 2017 | Montreat, NC

For pastors, musicians, choir members, worship committee members, children, and youth

"Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ: not a divisive political scene, not conflicts in the church, not declining health, not rapidly changing social norms, nor anything else. We are given that assurance time and again in scripture. Nothing can separate us from the love of God, for God is with us, always."

Read more details here (Week 1) and here (Week 2)

Journey: Music and Worship Arts Week
Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts
June 25-30, 2017 | Lake Junaluska, NC

For church musicians and worship leaders of all ages: choir members, instrumentalists, students, artists, dancers, actors, and pastors

"From the first moment of creation, God invites us into a journey of life and faith. God calls us to grow and learn, rest and renew, and engage and change along the way. At Music & Worship Arts Week 2017, we will celebrate and explore God’s journey and ours through song, worship, dance, drama, art, reflection, and prayer, looking back at the long lineage of pilgrims who came before us... and looking forward to where the journey may take us even still."

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Rise: Remember Well the Future
Association of Lutheran Church Musicians: Rise
July 10-13, 2017 | Minneapolis, MN

For church musicians, pastors, and worship leaders

"Our ALCM biennial conference will simultaneously celebrate the treasures of the last 500 years and look to the future and God’s covenant of faithfulness in all that is yet to be . . . . We will reflect on the changing role of the cantor—the leader of the church’s song—as we move confidently into a future blessed by our heritage and full of many changes in the church and its music."

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Formed As One: Union of Voices, Unity of Hearts
National Association of Pastoral Musicians (Catholic Church)
July 10-14, 2017 | Cincinnati, OH

For musicians, clergy, liturgists, and worship leaders

The 40th annual convention will feature morning mass, a Taizé prayer service, a handbell festival, plenum showcases, exhibits, concerts and recitals, masterclasses, and more.

Read more details

The 67th Sewanee Church Music Conference
July 10-16, 2017 | Sewanee, TN

For church musicians and liturgists in Anglican churches

"Join us on the mountain in July to make glorious music and wonderful friends!" All events - rehearsals, worship, sessions, prayer, etc. - will be held on the campus of University of the South in Sewanee, TN.

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Now Thank We All Our God: Celebrating Congregational Song Since the Reformation
The Hymn Society
July 16-20, 2017 | Waterloo, ON

For church musicians and pastors

The Hymn Society's annual conference for 2017 features worship services, hymn festivals led by people like Michael Burkhardt and C. Michael Hawn, plenary sessions presented by by people such as Paul Westermeyer and Emily R. Brink, and breakout group discussions.

Read more details

Choristers Guild Institute
Choristers Guild
July 16-22, 2017 | Wingate, NC

A certification program for children's choir (K-8) directors in a church or school setting (full-time, part-time, or volunteer)

"The [3-stage] certification process is designed to strengthen directors’ musical and pedagogical skills and to equip them to effectively integrate children in worship . . . . A degree in music is not required, but musical literacy is fundamental to success as a participant in the Choristers Guild Institute."

Topics include:
- Creative and Purposeful Integration of Children in Worship
- Music Teaching Skills
- Choral Methods
- Effective Organization of a Children's Music Ministry
- Personal Musicianship

Read more details

Notre Dame Vision: Liturgical Music Ministers
University of Notre Dame, Center for Liturgy
July 17-21, 2017 | Notre Dame, IN

For church musicians and those involved in liturgical music ministry in a church or school setting

"Our theme for Vision LMM will be The Word of God and Liturgical Music, and will invite us to reflect upon the relationship between Scripture and music. Each session will focus on different genres of liturgical music and invite participants to consider how music in particular and the arts in general invite us to enter into Scripture more deeply and there encounter Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word of God."

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Alleluia: Many Voices, One Song
Baylor University
July 18-21, 2017 | Waco, TX

For worship leaders, music ministers, children's choir leaders, and keyboard ministers

The Alleluia Conference will feature a dozen reading sessions; over 40 workshops, seminars, and breakout discussion groups; and several evening concerts.

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Church Music Conference
Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center (Presbyterian)
July 23-29, 2017 | Harrisonburg, VA

For church musicians, pastors, choir members, instrumentalists, youth, and children

This conference features worship and music, ensembles for all ages, and a series of forums and workshops. This year's theme is "Remembering the Reformation!" in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

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Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts
July 24-27, 2017 | Little Rock, AR

A unique gathering of musicians, dancers, visual artists, and preachers

"How can we, as worship artists, develop our skills and gifts to enliven communities that are so full of complexities, conflicts, politics, and way too many “isms”? How will we continue God’s work in the world today of opening hearts, minds, doors, and lives?" The biennial convocation features worship, seminars, and workshops for "all who seek to serve God’s people by designing and leading participatory worship experiences."

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Sing! Getty Music Worship Conference on Worship, the Arts, and Congregational Singing
Getty Music
September 18-20, 2017 | Nashville, TN

For pastors, worship leaders, and church musicians

"This conference exists to help pastors, leaders and musicians build a Biblical understanding and creative vision for the congregational singing in their churches. Bringing together speakers and artists from many traditions and walks of life, our desire is to encourage churches towards a deeper, more dynamic view of theology, artistry and mission in congregational singing. "

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Church Music and the Reformation
Baylor University, Center for Christian Music Studies
September 28-29, 2017 | Waco, TX

For church musicians, students, teachers, and pastors

"The Center for Christian Music Studies at Baylor University will host a Colloquium on Church Music and the Reformation on September 28-29, 2017, commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation." Now accepting paper proposals (through April 3, 2017).

Read more details

Looking for more? Take a look at these helpful lists:
Worship Conferences and Seminars
Summer 2017 Music Clinics by Augsburg Fortress