National Conference for Sacred Music

January 3-5, 2018
Charlotte, NC

Leading the Church’s Song

Registration now available


Worship Leaders: David Bone and Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Thompson
Featured Clinicians: Andre Thomas, Isabelle Demers, Heather Potter, Ed Tompkins, and Zebulon M. Highben.

Sponsored by Augsburg Fortress, MorningStar Music, and Hinshaw Music, with additional support from ALCM, PAM, and FUMMWA.

National Conference for Sacred Music is a unique conference designed to provide the practicing church musician with fresh new ideas to help create a vital, growing music ministry. The emphasis of this conference is to provide a wide variety of new approaches to revitalize and reinvigorate the church’s passion for music in worship. Sessions will include the following:

  • New worship planning ideas for your congregation and choirs
  • Choral technique classes with an emphasis on deepening the spiritual experience for the choir member
  • Reading sessions featuring new publications from Augsburg Fortress, Hinshaw, and MorningStar Music
  • Sponsorship by three different denominational groups: the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, and the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts
  • Workshops for working with children
  • Handbells
  • Morning worship

Registration Fee: $150.00
Meal Plan (Wed dinner and Thu/Fri lunch): $45.00

Hotel Information for NCSM
There are many hotels in the area, but we have reserved a block of rooms at The Dunhill Hotel; 237 N. Tryon St; Charlotte NC 28202 From the The Dunhill, you can easily walk 2 blocks to First Presbyterian Church at 200 West Trade St. Charlotte, NC 28202. Please call the hotel directly to reserve your room at 704-332-4141. Mention National Conference for Sacred Music to receive the conference rate of $149.00. (Vintage Queen) or $179.00 (Deluxe Queen). You may also reserve on line by clicking here.

The conference rate is good Tuesday through Friday. You must reserve by Monday, December 12, 2017, in order to receive the conference rate.


Day One

Wednesday, January 3

2:00pm-3:00pm Registration – Browse exhibits
3:00-3:15 Welcome, introduction, and announcements – Sanctuary
3:15-4:30 Way Over in Beulah Lan… Understanding and Performing the Negro Spiritual – André Thomas
5:00-6:00 Dinner (part of meal plan)
6:15-7:15 Workshops
1. Festival Service Rehearsal – André Thomas and Isabelle Demers
2. Workshop for those who do not wish to sing – Using Traditional Elements to Create Vibrant Worship – David Bone
8:00 Onward Social Gathering/Exhibits

Day Two

Thursday, January 4

9:00am-9:30 Morning Worship– Jacqueline Thompson and David Bone
9:45-11:00 Workshops
1. New Organ Repertoire – Isabelle Demers
2. 500 Years of Singing – Zebulon Highben
3. Writing Liturgy -Jacqueline Thompson
11:00-11:30 Break
11:30-12:30 Reading Session 1 Multi Publisher – Zebulon Highben
12:30-1:30 Lunch (part of meal plan)
1:45-2:55 Workshops
1. Heather Potter
2. Isabelle Demers
3. Handbells – Ed Tompkins
3:00-4:00 Reading Session 2 Multi Publisher – André Thomas
4:00-4:15 Break
4:15-5:30 Workshops
1. A Primer on Composing for the Church – Zebulon Highben
2. Writing Liturgy (repeat) – Jacqueline Thompson
5:30-6:30 Friday Festival Rehearsal – André Thomas and Isabelle Demers
6:30 Onward Free Night

Day Three

Friday, January 5

9:00am-9:30 Worship – Jacqueline Thompson and David Bone
9:40-10:55 Workshops
1. A Primer on Composing for the Church (repeat) – Zebulon Highben
2. Handbells (repeat) – Ed Tompkins
3. Children’s Workshop – Heather Potter
10:55-11:30 Break/Visit Exhibits
11:30-12:30 Reading Session 3 Multi Publisher – Heather Potter
12:30-2:00 Lunch (part of meal plan)/Visit Exhibits
2:00 Exhibits Close
2:00-3:00 Workshops
1. Isabelle Demers (repeat)
2. 500 Years of Singing (repeat) – Zebulon Highben
3:15-4:30 Rehearsal for Festival Service – André Thomas and Isabelle Demers
4:30-7:00 Dinner on your own
7:00 Festival Service with André Thomas and Isabelle Demers


500 Years of Singing: Exploring Lutheran and Reformed Choral Traditions – Zebulon Highben

Martin Luther and his colleagues famously created the German chorales and created a prominent place for vernacular hymns in their worship orders of 1523 and 1526. But Luther also loved choral singing, and a robust repertoire of choral music developed contemporaneously with the chorales. But what exactly is the Lutheran choral tradition, and what are its musical, textual, and liturgical parameters? Using repertoire from the new Augsburg Chorale Book and its sister volumes (the Augsburg Motet Book, the Chantry Choirbook, and Bach for All Seasons), this session will answer these questions and highlight the various streams of Lutheran choral music, from the sixteenth century to the present day.

A Primer on Composing for the Church – Zebulon Highben

You don’t have to be a published composer to write music! For centuries, church musicians have composed psalm tones, psalms refrains, calls to worship, hymn tunes, and descants for use in their own parishes. This workshop will review basic principles of composition that are most applicable to these types of liturgical music. Later in the session, participants will put the principles into practice as we collaboratively compose some new liturgical music.

A Positive Approach to Rehearsal Technique – Andre Thomas

Way Over in Beulah Lan…Understanding and Performing the Negro Spiritual – Andre Thomas

Using Traditional Elements to Create Vibrant Worship Services – David Bone

With planning and creativity, so called “traditional” worship services can be exciting and relevant. The class will explore the creative use of resources that are readily available.

Writing Liturgy Emboldened by the Spirit – Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Thompson

Come and be inspired to create new liturgies and shape new prayers.  We will begin with references to assist with the preparation of bulletin materials and then introduce you to different liturgical voices.  You will be encouraged to think, imagine and verbalize the concerns of your particular context in shaping a liturgical piece.

New / Recent Organ publications – Isabelle Demers