Top Six New Things You Can Try This Year

Trying something new can be a scary endeavor. But what if you could try something you’ve always wanted to learn in an environment that’s friendly and encouraging?

Here’s some good news: That’s exactly what’s awaiting you at this year’s Music & Worship Arts Week.

Regardless of your artistic craft, there are plenty of opportunities to stretch yourself and try something that maybe you’ve never done before.

Here are our Top Six suggestions of new things to try at MWAW 2017:

6. Join a handbell ensemble.

Never rung a handbell before? We have an ensemble for you! Each afternoon, you are welcome to join our Beginning Handbells seminar, led by Diane Short. It begins Monday and is designed to gradually build each day with new techniques and ensemble ringing.

5. Try a new dance technique.

Even if you’re experienced in leading liturgical dance in your church, there are always new things to try. Have you tried incorporating props into your dances? Don’t miss our “Props for Special Seasons” seminar. Ever consider using tap dancing in worship? See how it can be done during our “Make a Joyful Noise” seminar.

4. Learn about the Enneagram.

The Enneagram is a personality system that is used for spiritual direction as well as in professional settings. Jody Seymour, our preacher for the week, will lead a series of seminars in the Enneagram and what it can mean for you and your ministry.

3. Write for the stage.

Ever dream of writing a script? Jeff Smith, our theatre in worship clinician, will lead a seminar on writing short 3 to 5 minute sketches primarily used to set up a sermon. Yes, you do have the “write” stuff!

2. Incorporate new aspects into your worship planning.

There are so many opportunities to stretch your creativity when it comes to worship planning. Mary Scifres will lead a workshop on “Designing Creative Worship,” focusing on introducing new ideas and implementing change, and Debi Tyree will show how global songs can be incorporated in creative ways for worship in “Global Song as Service Music.”

1. Become a conductor!

Ever want to try your hands (literally) at becoming a conductor? This seminar, geared specifically for first-time conductors (including youth who work with praise bands and singers), will focus on beat patterns, hand gestures, facial expressions, and other conducting basics.

And … again … that’s just the TOP six! There are countless other opportunities for learning and exploring this year at MWAW 2017. Give something new a try!

If you haven’t registered to join us yet, now is the time to do so … as MWAW 2017 is just six weeks away! We’re so looking forward to an amazing week this year at Lake Junaluska!

Top Six Clinicians (and More!) You Should Know

One of the incredible aspects of Music & Worship Arts Week each year is the quality of our clinicians, and 2017 is no exception.

Our clinicians this year bring their experiences, talents, and passions for their crafts to share with each of us during the week.

Because we couldn’t possibly rank these amazingly-talented artists, here’s a list of six clinicians that you should know. We’ll see if we can keep the list to just six, though. (Spoiler alert: We can’t.)

Jason KrugJason Krug is a prolific composer, having published more than 200 compositions and arrangements for handbells, piano, strings, choir, and organ. Jason will be directing our Intermediate I handbell ensemble.

Mary ScifresMary Scifres is a nationally-known worship consultant and United Methodist pastor, who co-authors The United Methodist Music and Worship Planner and provides monthly online resources for non-traditional worship. Mary will be our worship leader this year.

Brian HehnBrian Hehn is the director of The Center for Congregational Song, a new resource center of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. Brian will be leading our children’s DRUM program.

Mark Miller is a composer of sacred music, associate professor of church music and composer in residence at Drew University, lecturer in sacred music at Yale University. Mark will again be providing leadership to our young adults and evening prayer services.

David HarrisDavid Harris is a familiar face to handbell enthusiasts. Now in his 28th year as director of the internationally-recognized Raleigh Ringers, David will be directing our Advanced handbell ensemble.

Eileen GuentherEileen Guenther is professor of church music at Wesley Theological Seminary and author of the recently-published book, In Their Own Words: Slave Life and the Power of Spirituals. Eileen will be serving as our organist this year.

OK, so maybe seven …

Eric NelsonEric Nelson is professor of music and director of choral studies at Emory University and artistic director of the Atlanta Master Chorale. Eric will be directing the adult choir.

See what we mean? And that’s really just the beginning …

  • Judy Britts, our older elementary clinician, brings more than 30 years of experience in children and youth choirs;
  • Joy Chappell, one of our dance clinicians, is a recent graduate with a degree in dance performance and choreography;
  • Grete Gryzwana, our other dance clinician, has developed dances for professional theatre, TV commercials, recording artists, and award shows;
  • Amy E. Gray, our talented visual artist, recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Theological Studies;
  • Karol Kimmel, our younger elementary clinician, is a co-director and faculty member for the Chorister’s Guild Institute;
  • Kevin Riehle, our chamber choir director, is the founding director of Cantare Houston, a professional chamber group;
  • Jody Seymour, our preacher for the week, is the author of five books and a certified instructor in Enneagram;
  • Jeff Smith, our theatre in worship clinician, is the director of Salt & Light Ministries;
  • David & Molly Stanley, our instrumental ensemble directors, are band and orchestra directors at schools in Roanoke, VA;
  • Julie Turner, one of our handbell clinicians, is an associate conductor of the Music City Bronze and has published more than 30 handbell arrangements;
  • And you’ve already met Tracy DePue and James Wells, our youth clinicians.

Whew! That’s quite a list! And here’s the unique thing about Music & Worship Arts Week — you will likely have the opportunity to not only learn from these clinicians but to get to know them as well, whether that’s over a meal, in worship, or on the trolley between sessions.

So, have we convinced you to join us at Lake Junaluska? There’s still time to register before registration prices increase.

Top Six Reasons to Bring Your Youth

One of the best things about Music & Worship Arts Week is that it’s a multi-generational event. There are lots of options for adults and children … and teens.

Yep, you heard us. 🙂

Our middle and senior high groups are an extremely important part of each year’s event. Our students not only have opportunities to perform in their graded choral ensembles, but many also participate in dance, the instrumental ensemble, or a handbell choir.

Need more convincing? Here’s our Top Six (yes, we’re still stuck on that Top Six thing) reasons to bring your youth to Lake Junaluska this summer.

Tracy DePue6. Our senior high choral clinician, Tracy DePue.

Tracy is a familiar face within The Fellowship and and we’re very excited that she’ll be sharing her excellent youth choir skills with us this summer! Tracy is the director of music, worship, and the arts at St. James UMC in Little Rock, AR.

James Wells5. Our middle high choral clinician, James Wells.

Your mid-high-ers should recognize our friend James if they’ve attended a past Music & Worship Arts Week, as he served for many years as our DRUM (3rd-6th grade) clinician. He is the director of choral ministries at Brentwood UMC in Brentwood, TN, and is the co-director of the Nashville Children’s Choir.

4. Lots of seminars especially designed for teens.

We have a number of afternoon seminars that are designed to cater to our middle high and senior high participants, including a beginning handbell ensemble, dance and theatre in worship offerings, and crafts.

3. Get out and play!

Yes, a good portion of MWAW 2017 is spent rehearsing with clinicians and attending workshops. But the beautiful setting of Lake Junaluska offers a number of opportunities for your students to stretch their legs, whether that’s paddle boarding or canoeing, swimming at the pool, or taking a walk around the lake. And be sure to take advantage of our youth yoga classes, too!

2. Because music matters for our students.

We’ve all heard it before, but it’s worth reminding ourselves that youth that participate in music while in school score better on the SATs, have increased coordination and emotional development and prove to be a success in society. (Need more reasons? Check out this article by the National Association for Music Education.)

1. The ever-popular Youth Talent Show!

It’s a highlight of every year at MWAW … the Youth Talent Show gives our students an opportunity to showcase their talents through singing, dancing, drama, and everything in between! Performing in the show is an exclusive opportunity for those participating in our middle and senior high ensembles.

You never know what other surprises may happen, too! Like, how about this gem from the 2015 Youth Talent Show? Although we’re fairly certain there are some youth leaders that would prefer to forget this one …


Ready to sign your youth up for MWAW 2017? Here’s the great news … it’s not too late! Register your group now and get ready for an amazing experience at Lake Junaluska this June!

Top Six Unexpected Things You Can Learn This Year

Music & Worship Arts Week is a great event filled with singing, ringing, dancing, worshipping, creating, and teaching. But … there are other aspects of the week that you might not be aware of.

In the spirit of creativity, we decided to put together a Top Six List of things you might not expect that you can learn at MWAW 2017. (Because why have a Top Five list when you can have a Top Six, right?)

On with the countdown …

6. How to put a handbell back together.

Mickey Johnson, a specialist in handbell refurbishment, will present a seminar on basic handbell maintenance.

5. How to mime.

Yes, really! Linda Caldwell will present a seminar on Christian mime, which will allow participants to explore how to use their whole beings to deliver a message using only gestures, expression, and movement.

4. How to make your big screen look great!

Does your church use a projection screen? Amy Gray, our worship visuals clinician, will help show some simple ways to improve your big screen experience.

3. How to bake communion bread.

One of our most popular seminars is back! Chip Bilbrey will lead multiple opportunities to learn the art of baking communion bread. (And, each person attending gets a fresh loaf of bread!)

2. How improv can help in your church team building.

Do you love the TV show “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?” Ever think that improv could help improve team building in your pastoral and worship staff? Jeff Smith, our theatre in worship clinician, will show how theatre games and improv ideas can be used in your training and team building exercises.

1. What to do if your car doubles as your office …

If you’re a part-time church music leader who finds yourself storing everything in the trunk of your car, this seminar is for you! Debi Tyree will explore practical ideas to survive all of the “other” stuff of church music ministry, especially organization.

And that’s only the TOP six! There are countless other opportunities for learning and fellowship this year at MWAW 2017.

Are you planning on joining us this June but haven’t gotten your materials together yet? Our registration deadline is quickly approaching, so register now!