Music Clinics



Augsburg Fortress looks forward to seeing you at one of our six FREE Summer 2015 Music Clinics! Read through new seasonal music, attend workshops led by clinicians Anton Armstrong* and John Ferguson, participate in and attend a hymn festival, and learn more about the new with enhanced integration of

* Eric Nelson will be the choral clinician in Columbia, South Carolina.

JULY 17–18
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
3909 Forest Dr.
Columbia, SC 29204
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JULY 28–29
Saint Luke’s Lutheran Church
205 N Prospect Ave.
Park Ridge, IL 60068
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Trinity Lutheran Church
6215 196th St. SW
Lynnwood, WA 98036
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Gethsemane Lutheran Church
35 E Stanton Ave.
Columbus, OH 43214
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St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
415 E Athens Ave.
Ardmore, PA 19003
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AUGUST 10–11
Roseville Lutheran Church
1215 Roselawn Ave. W
Roseville, MN 55113
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Join Us

This summer, join hundreds of other church musicians in exploring fresh and innovative ways to enliven music in worship.

Summer Music Clinics are designed for everyone involved in creating and planning music for worship. Anton Armstrong, John Ferguson, and Eric Nelson (Columbia) lead a variety of workshops, including “A Keyboard Is a Keyboard Is a Keyboard” (John Ferguson), “Working with the Developmental Singer” (Anton Armstrong), and “What’s Next? Pressing On toward the Goal” (Eric Nelson), along with choral, keyboard, children’s, and handbell reading sessions.

Connect with other church musicians while previewing new seasonal music, learn more about Prelude Music Planner and its new integration with, and join other musicians and the community for the “Let the Whole Creation Cry” hymn festival. Give your choir members the opportunity to rehearse and sing with Anton Armstrong or Eric Nelson at the 6 p.m. rehearsal prior to the hymn festival.

NEW in 2015: We will reprise Day One workshops on Day Two. Attend the one you missed or repeat the same one again!



Day One

8:30–9:00 Registration; browse the Music Store
9:00–11:00 Handbells (see list of handbell clinicians)
11:15–12:15 Children’s Music (Armstrong)
12:15–1:30 Lunch on your own
1:30–3:00 Organ Repertoire (Ferguson)
3:00–3:15 Break
3:15–4:30 Workshop A or B
A. Working with the Developmental Singer (Armstrong) OR What’s Next? Pressing On toward the Goal (Nelson)  B. A Keyboard Is a Keyboard Is a Keyboard (Ferguson)
4:45–5:30 Prelude to Sundays and Seasons
5:30–7:00 Dinner on your own
6:00–7:15 Choir rehearsal for Hymn Festival (Armstrong*)
7:30 Hymn Festival: “Let the Whole Creation Cry” (Ferguson, Armstrong/Nelson, and the Festival Clinic Choir)

Day Two

8:30–9:00 Registration; browse the Music Store
9:00–10:00 Q&A with the clinicians
10:15–10:45 Reprise of Workshops A and B
10:45–11:00 Break
11:00–12:15 Choral Session I (Armstrong*)
12:15–1:30 Lunch on your own
1:30–3:00 Choral Session II (Armstrong*)

* Eric Nelson will be presenting these sessions in Columbia, SC.
Ed Tomkins will be presenting this session in Columbia, SC.

Handbell Clinicians

Columbia: Ed Tomkins
Chicago: Sandra Eithun
Seattle: Shirley Lindberg
Columbus: Martha Avery
Philadelphia: Michael Joy
Twin Cities: Sandra Eithun

Workshop Descriptions

A Keyboard Is a Keyboard Is a Keyboard (Ferguson)

Which “keyboard” is appropriate for different styles of music? How do we adapt organ music for the piano or pianistic style for the organ?

Working with the Developmental Singer (Armstrong)

Anton Armstrong will explore rehearsal goals, strategies, and repertoire that can nurture healthy and artistic singers of all ages.

Let the Whole Creation Cry Hymn Festival (Armstrong* and Ferguson)

We sing of God’s amazing creation all around us and our privilege and responsibility to be stewards of that creation. Participants are invited to bring their choir members to rehearse and sing in the Festival Choir. Program will include materials and ideas not covered in other clinic sessions.

What’s Next? Pressing On toward the Goal (Nelson)

We all want our choirs to improve. What techniques can make the biggest difference and give your rehearsals the most bang for your buck?

Prelude to Sundays and Seasons

Learn more about the new look, added content, and improved features that are part of the 2015 re-launch of, with a special focus on integration with Prelude Music Planner and a new Worship Videos module.

Clinician Bios

ANTON ARMSTRONG is the Harry R. and Thora H. Tosdal Chair in Music, Professor of Music at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, and Conductor of the St. Olaf Choir, a position he assumed in 1990. He came to this position following ten years in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he served on the faculty of Calvin College and conducted the Campus Choir, the Calvin College Alumni Choir, and the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus. A graduate of St. Olaf College, Anton Armstrong earned a Master of Music degree at the University of Illinois and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University. He holds membership in several professional societies, including the American Choral Directors Association, Choristers Guild, Chorus America, and the International Federation for Choral Music. He also serves as editor of a multicultural choral series for Earthsongs Publications and co-editor of the St. Olaf Choral Series for Augsburg Fortress.

Dr. Armstrong is widely recognized for his work in the area of youth and children’s choral music. He served for over twenty years on the summer faculty of the American Boychoir School, Princeton, New Jersey, and held the position of Conductor of the St. Cecilia Youth Chorale, a 75-voice treble chorus based in Grand Rapids, from 1981–1990. He is the founding conductor of the Troubadours, a 30-voice boys’ ensemble of the Northfield Youth Choirs. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Boychoir School, the Board of Chorus America, and the Board of Choristers Guild. In June 1998, he began his tenure as founding conductor of the Oregon Bach Festival Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy.

Anton Armstrong has conducted the St. Olaf Choir in critically acclaimed solo concert performances at the 59th National Conference of the Music Educators National Conference in April 2004, the Sixth World Symposium on Choral Music in August 2002, and at the 1999 National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Chicago, Illinois. In February 2005, the St. Olaf Choir shared the stage with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in presenting the finale concert for the national conference of the American Choral Directors Association at the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, California.

“Body, mind, spirit, voice—it takes the whole person to sing and rejoice.” Now in his 25th year of conducting the St. Olaf Choir, Armstrong offers his singers this mantra that he learned from his mentor Helen Kemp, professor emerita of voice and church music at Westminster Choir College.


JOHN FERGUSON retired June 2012 after serving 29 years as Elliot and Klara Stockdal Johnson Professor of Organ and Church Music and Cantor to the Student Congregation at St. Olaf College. His responsibilities included directing the church music-organ program, teaching organ, and conducting the St. Olaf Cantorei. During his tenure at St. Olaf he oversaw three major capital projects: the renovation of space adjacent to the music building into an organ recital hall housing a new Dobson organ (3/42); the complete renovation, acoustical upgrade and installation of a new Holtkamp organ (3/89) for Boe Memorial Chapel; and a new suite of rooms housing the school’s seven practice organs. During his tenure the organ department at the college defied national trends by growing in enrollment and in quality.

In retirement he continues his travels to design and lead hymn festivals for which he is internationally known as well as composing and arranging, adding to the many publications already in print. Drawing upon his 59 years of experience as a church musician, especially his work at the Kent, Ohio, United Church of Christ (15 years while on the faculty of Kent State University) and Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota (5 years full time), he is at work on his fourth book that explores his philosophy of the vocation of the church musician.

He has been honored by his colleagues in the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians both by the Raabe Prize for distinctive musical composition and the Faithful Servant Award for his years of service to church music. The Minnesota American Choral Directors Association presented him with the F. Melius Christiansen award for distinguished service to the choral art and his colleagues at St. Olaf elected him to the St. Olaf chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

His son, Christopher, teaches British history at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, where his daughter-in-law, Sarah, serves as business manager for the Auburn band program. Together, they raise one of the delight’s of John’s life—his grand-daughter, Lucy. In his spare time, John enjoys caring for and driving his collection of classic vehicles, including six historic military vehicles and two classic muscle cars. To stay young, “Ferg” also enjoys riding his two motorcycles.


ERIC NELSON is the Artistic Director of the Atlanta Master Chorale, the Director of Choral Studies at Emory University, and the Minister of Music at Second–Ponce de Leon Baptist Church, Atlanta.

With training in voice and choral conducting from Houghton College, Westminster Choir College, and Indiana University, Dr. Nelson inspires choral artistry in singers of all ages, building excellent choral technique along with a passion for the unity of music and meaning. An exceptional teacher, he draws from a breadth of experience as both professional organist and vocal performer, finding myriad ways to help singers not only learn, but also celebrate the gift of singing—as he says—“shoulder to shoulder, voice to voice, one voice lost in another, each agreeing on something beyond themselves.”

Highly regarded as a clinician, adjudicator, lecturer, and guest conductor, Dr. Nelson has conducted throughout the nation and the world, including performances at Carnegie Hall in New York, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia. His choirs have performed for the American Choral Directors Association seven times.

In 2014, he served as the Artistic Director for the Music and Worship Service for the American Choral Directors Association Convention in Jacksonville, Florida. He has presented workshops for the ACDA, the Music Educator’s National Conference, the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, the American Guild of Organists, Chorister’s Guild, and for numerous churches, colleges, and universities.

Dr. Nelson is the past recipient of a Crystal Apple award for excellence in teaching at Emory University, and the American Prize in choral conducting. In 2013, his Atlanta Master Chorale received the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence from Chorus America. He is the editor of the Atlanta Master Chorale Choral Series, a division of MorningStar Music. His compositions are also published by Colla Voce and Augsburg Fortress.