Our 2017 seminars will provide both theoretical background as well as practical information that you can take back to your ministries. Enjoy learning and growing together … and hey, maybe even a little bit of fun, too!

Seminar titles, descriptions, and offerings are subject to change.  Many more seminars will still be added … stay tuned!

As of Nov. 3, 2016:

Choral | Children/Youth Choral | Choral for Youth/Young Adult AttendeesHandbells | Organ | InstrumentalDance in Worship | Dance (for Fun!)Theatre in Worship | Visuals in Worship | WorshipYoga | Miscellaneous


The Value of the Vocal Interview — Tracy DePue
The experience of listening to the individual singers of a choir (youth or adult) can be a rich experience where singers are encouraged and directors gain important information that can inform their teaching and pastoral guidance of any choir. Directors become informed by the interviews and lead in tailor-made ways for the singers in the group. In this seminar, we will walk through a model for a vocal interview and discuss the value of this important work.

Music Ministry – Should I Stay or Should I Go? — Tracy DePue
Evaluating the ministry call and whether we are serving where we are called can be a daunting question to consider. In this session, we will cover questions to assist in evaluating your current position, discuss ways to create personal and professional balance (including self-care practices), consider important components of “finishing well” at a current position while preparing for something new, and how to begin anew.

‘Tis the Gift to be SIMPLE … — Eric Nelson
In this session, we will consider the thing that our congregation hears first — the SOUND of our choirs. Is there a sound ideal that all singers and choir directors agree upon? Is there anything we can do as directors and singers to make the sound of our choirs improve? If so, then what things have the biggest impact?

‘Tis the Gift to Come Down Where We OUGHT TO BE … — Eric Nelson
The sound that our choirs make is of critical importance, but this session considers something that might matter even more — PHRASING. Phrasing is to choirs what delivering the words of a script is to an actor. What we emphasize and how we get there has an enormous impact on our music making and the quality of worship. When a choir’s phrasing improves, its ministry to the congregation improves. Are phrasing and musicality instinctive or can they be taught? What things can improve phrasing and what things get in the way?

And When We Find Ourselves in the Place JUST RIGHT … — Eric Nelson
Have you ever heard a choir sing out of tune? Even if a choir’s tone and phrasing are quite lovely, an out of tune choir can be hard to listen to. Have you ever heard a choir sing really well in tune? Even if a choir’s tone is less than optimal, a choir that sings in tune can be heaven on earth. In this session, we consider INTONATION: what makes a choir “in tune” or “out of tune,” and what (if anything) we can do about it!

Your Look, Their Sound — Kevin Riehle
The physical presence and gesture and how it influences choral tone and expression. A hard look in the mirror.

The Care and Feeding of the Musician’s Soul — Kevin Riehle
Preventing burnout, replenishing the vision, staying real in an illusionary profession.

Old Wine, New Wineskins: Restoring the “Good Old Days” — Kevin Riehle
Bringing the director’s unique history into today’s choirs and worship spaces. What still works, and what doesn’t.

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Children and Youth Choral

It’s All in the Planning – Judy Britts
When we have one rehearsal a week to meet with our singers, we really need to make every moment count! We’ll discover how musical growth and spiritual growth can be intertwined in a rehearsal that is fulfilling, effective, and fun for your singers and for you! Templates for planning and other resources to be available for those who attend.

Choosing Music Worth Keeping in a Child’s Memory – Judy Britts
Reading sessions are helpful, but how do you know which anthem is good for your choir? Guidelines for choosing music that is age appropriate, not too easy or too difficult, along with being the right style and text will be shared. Examples of several anthems will be used to demonstrate the guidelines.

Simple Steps to Creating a Beautiful Tone – Judy Britts
So many times we think as directors that cute and fun are what will keep our singers interested and help them to learn good vocal technique. Let’s discover the steps to creating a beautiful tone in our singers that are simple yet engaging for all members. We will also discuss how to help the un-tuned singer by first understanding why they are not singing the correct pitch and how to assist them.

Fun with Choral Sounds – Karol Kimmell
Learn fun and effective songs, warm-ups, and activities to teach and encourage good diction, strong breath, crisp consonants, pitch accuracy, strengthen high notes, increase rhythmic accuracy, and develop good vocal habits for your elementary and younger singers.

Hymnody For and With Children – Karol Kimmell
Do your young singers struggle when learning and singing hymns? Children often wrestle with the words, their meaning, intervals, melodic direction and rhythms of traditional and newly-composed hymns. Learn ways to make hymnody exciting and accessible for children. Many practical examples will be shared.

Celebrating the Church Year with Children – Karol Kimmell
Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Pentecost! Our liturgical seasons celebrate the story of Jesus’ life each year. Learn songs, hymns, and activities that can be experienced in rehearsals and performed in worship that help children tell the story of Jesus’s life and ministry.

Successes and Struggles in Today’s Church Youth Choir – James Wells
How can we learn from past successes and struggles of student choirs of all sizes? Celebrate traditions of the past while visioning the future of student choirs in our churches.

Building Relationships and Recruiting Students in Today’s Church Youth Choir – James Wells
Personalizing a plan for growth in your student choir with focus on ministry, mission, and relationship building.

Giving Students Your Best, Not Your Baggage in Rehearsal – James Wells
Combining your specific passion, energy, vision, and skill to personalize a plan for success in your student rehearsals.

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Choral for Youth/Young Adult Attendees

Young Adult/Evening Prayer Ensemble – Mark Miller
This double-session seminar is led by Mark Miller and open to young adults who have graduated high school and up to 30 years of age. They will prepare music for the Evening Prayer services and Thursday evening concert. Singers are expected to participate in other choirs during morning rehearsals in addition to this group. If there is a seminar or two that you’d like to attend during these sessions, consult with Mark to find a way for you to participate in both.

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Bass Bell Techniques – David Harris
Learn the proper techniques to handle the big bells without injury and how to play and camp them effectively. The discussion will also include assignment ideas and advanced bass bell techniques.

Making Excellent Rehearsals Happen – David Harris
How do you make the most of the precious rehearsal minutes you have with your handbell group? We’ll discuss thorough planning before rehearsal, efficient execution and strong leadership during rehearsal and causal analysis after rehearsal.

Creative and Easy Hymn Accompaniments – Jason Krug
The organist at your church plays several hymns every Sunday while the bells just lie on their tables or, worse yet, in their cases. Learn simple and effective ways to incorporate handbells with your weekly hymns in ways that are sure to delight and uplift your congregation. Participants will look at sample hymns, brainstorm practical ways to include handbells, and play through the hymns using those ideas.

Handbells by the Numbers – Jason Krug
Conventional wisdom says we need 13 to 15 players to ring a five-octave set of handbells … but what if we don’t have that many ringers? How can we include handbells in worship outside of a “traditional” choir? Learn specific and simple ways to add handbells to Sunday morning worship whether you have only one ringer or more than 20!

The General Theory of Creativity – Jason Krug
Think creativity is something reserved for a select, chosen few? Think it’s a natural talent, either you have it or you don’t? Think again! Come let your preconceived notions about creativity be debunked, and learn just how much innate, creative talent you really have. Then, learn all the myriad ways you can apply that creativity to every aspect of a handbell ensemble (whether director or ringer), and even to every facet of your personal and professional life!

Read & Ring: Simple Handbell Accompaniments for Favorite Hymns – Julie Turner
Read and ring a variety of simple handbell scores designed to accompany the singing of favorite public domain hymns. Copies of these scores will be available to take with you at no cost.

Unique Ways to Incorporate Handbells Into Worship – Julie Turner
In addition to ringing anthems, there are several fun and interesting ways to include handbells in worship, some of which can be pulled together at a moment’s notice and even performed by novice ringers!

Handbell Techniques Review – Julie Turner
What is a TLD, a gyro and a BD? How do you do a pluck-lift? Learn about old and new handbell techniques and the proper way to executive them.

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To Be Announced 

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Instrumental Ensemble – David & Molly Stanley
Open to all instrumentalists through an audition on Sunday afternoon. Ensemble performs a concert Thursday afternoon. This is an extended-length seminar and continues through Seminar II. (Youth and Adults welcome!)

Worship Band Rehearsal – Isaac Gaff
All musicians and singers interested in rehearsing and leading in worship this week with the Worship Band are encouraged to participate in this seminar. Attendance each day is requested and the seminar continues until 6:00 p.m. each day. (Youth and Adults welcome!)

Drumming the Biblical Narrative – Brian Hehn
Let’s have fun telling stories using drums and rhythm. This interactive workshop will include drumming basics, story-telling, and some singing too! If you have never drummed, or if you’re a seasoned drum veteran, come have some fun with us!

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Dance in Worship

To Be Announced

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Dance (for Fun!)

To Be Announced

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Theatre in Worship

Theatre in Worship: Preparation for Morning Worship – Jeff Smith
A workshop designed for any adults and youth who would like to help lead in morning worship at MWAW through theatrical participation. Theatrical elements will be rehearsed for presentation in worship throughout the week. ALL ARE WELCOME TO PARTICIPATE.

Scripture as Script: Pop Up Narrative – Jeff Smith
Come and see how to bring passages of scripture to life in ways that INCARNATE the Word. This expression uses verbatim text and creative staging with the sanctuary space to highlight selected passages. This idea can be easily inserted into the liturgy as Call to Worship, Creative Rendering of the Word, or even used as extended parts of the sermon. Additionally, it makes a great special service for Christmas, Easter, and other special days in the church calendar year.

Scripture as Script: Dramatic Monologue and Dialogue – Jeff Smith
Come and see how to bring passages of scripture to life in ways that INCARNATE the Word. This expression involves effective textual analysis and looks at the text through the eyes of an actor preparing for a role. It is not only an effective way to bring the Bible to life, but also a great way to train and use theatrical talent in your congregation.

Scripture as Script: Scripture Pyramids, Tableau and Moving Pictures – Jeff Smith
Come and see how to bring passages of scripture to life in ways that INCARNATE the Word. These expressions use creativity to bring the biblical text to life. These formats can also be interactive, engaging the audience in more tactical and kinesthetic ways. They are also a great tool for Sunday School teachers and Children’s Ministry Team Leaders!

Just the F.A.C.T.S. – Jeff Smith
This is an acting class on five fundamental points of the theatre craft of acting. Physicality (F), Attention to Details (A), Characterizations and Concentration (C), Tongue and Diction (T) and Space (S). The class will be fun and interactive and provide basic training on how to get a drama ministry up and running in your church.

Whose Turn is it Anyway? – Jeff Smith
Theatre games and improv ideas based on the popular game show and how to use these tools in training along with their appropriate place in team building. Could also be a fun way for pastors and ministry leaders to use in ice breakers and retreat settings for staff and congregation.

The WRITE Stuff – Jeff Smith
A class for writers or those who would like to write for the church stage. The primary focus of this class will be writing the 3-5 minute sketch as it used to set up a sermon. This is the combination that Willow Creek used so successfully in their worship service as they grew to the largest church in North America. No experience necessary.

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Visuals in Worship

Saying It with Symbols – Amy Gray
The church has a long rich history of symbolic language, but we can’t assume all congregants know the meaning behind these symbols any longer. This workshop will focus on the effective use of visual language for worship today.

Worship on the Big Screen – Amy Gray
Does your church use a projection screen in worship? This workshop will focus on simple ways to improve the big screen experience.

Creating for Worship – Amy Gray
This workshop will be a behind the scenes look at how the visuals for worship at MWAW 2017 were planned and constructed. We will discuss materials, construction, design, sources of inspiration and the artist’s role in worship design.

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Designing Creative Worship for the 21st Century – Mary Scifres
Dance, drama, film, choir, praise band, handbells, puppets, children, adults, liturgy, congregational song, prayer, praise, lament, response … How does one integrate and address the broad range of needs and sift through the many resources out there when planning worship week in and week out? Rather than adding one more thing or trying to integrate every idea every single week, Mary offers leaders the tools to discern for themselves how best to integrate the different possibilities. Come and explore various resources that are available and discusses best practices for choosing and incorporating creative ideas into any worship style.

Creative Change: Conflict Free! – Mary Scifres
Using the three “R’s” of leading change, “Relate, Reframe, Repeat,” workshop leader Mary Scifres will help worship planners, pastors, artists, and music directors learn to introduce new ideas, design creatively, and even implement change smoothly, lovingly and successfully. Come and learn some practical ways to follow the Spirit’s guidance, ways that keep a positive spirit flowing freely.

Worship That Flows – Mary Scifres
The Holy Spirit moves most freely in worship when the flow is smooth and the leadership is skilled and prepared. While genuine worship is not a performance, elements of performance art are necessary to create and preserve the sacred space in which connection to the holy occurs. Come and learn leadership and worship planning skills that will help train liturgists and planning teams back home offer holistic and meaningful worship—worship that flows smoothly and naturally, worship that offers the Spirit freedom to move.

An Introduction to the Enneagram – Jody Seymour
The Enneagram is a personality system that is used for spiritual direction and also in professional settings. The “nine styles” of the Enneagram describes the different ways we “see” the world and helps individuals clarify the imbalance that develops over the years in our vision.

Achieving Balance Using the Enneagram – Jody Seymour
The Enneagram is not just descriptive but prescriptive. Pathways to balance and integration are offered so that individuals can journey toward wholeness.

The Spirituality of the Enneagram – Jody Seymour
The Enneagram helps individuals appreciate the nine “views of God.” Biblical characters are used to describe the nine views. Our spiritual type is determined by our Enneagram type.

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To Be Announced 

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To Be Announced

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