I can’t believe it, but we are getting ready to go on another trip. AGAIN. Next Friday we’ll leave for Seattle, WA for the national biennial conference of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. Carl and I have attended ALCM conferences nearly from the beginning of its founding in the late 80s. I think I counted up 12 national and 4 regional conferences which I’ve been to. I’ve been privileged to perform as an organist for some of the worship services and been a presenter of several workshops. These conferences are great opportunities for learning, as well as renewal and fellowship with other Lutheran church musicians. They are the place to charge our batteries!
This year’s theme is “God’s People Sing: Abundance, Challenge, Joy!” and will include plenary speakers, workshops, worship services, a hymn festival, music displays and concerts. You can see a schedule of all the events by clicking here. There are all kinds of interesting workshops on topics such as:
- Let Every Instrument be Tuned for Praise: Unusual instruments
- Expanding worship & use of media: How much is too much?
- The changing face of music publishing
- 101 Ways to Build your best Choral Library
- Late 20th century giants: They shaped what we sing, play and pray
- Expanding Liturgy with Handbells: What works with less?
- You Don’t Have Congas? Leading Cross-Cultural Hymnody from the organ
We’ll be going to Compline at St. Mark’s Cathedral (the Mother Church for Complinaires), attending a Hymn Festival with John Ferguson and Anton Armstrong of St. Olaf, and hearing an organ recital by Faythe Freese and a concert by Male Ensemble Northwest. There are fun activities too — such as an evening at the Space Needle and an outdoor barbecue.
Typically a day at the conference begins with breakfast at 7 am, followed by Morning Prayer, then the plenary speaker. After lunch are when the choral reading sessions and workshops are held. The evenings are usually when concerts are held, ending with Night Prayer. Usually we don’t get back to the hotel until 11 pm or later, so attending these conferences is not for the faint of heart!
As if attending the conference were not enough, I’m involved in the two of the exhibits, so I’m spending my remaining days at home pulling materials together to bring with me. One of the exhibits is advertising next summer’s Region 4 ALCM conference at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA. As Vice-President of Region 4, I have been on the planning committee for this event. So far I counted up over 80 emails between committee members (located in Canada, New Mexico, California and myself in Hawaii) in addition to several conference calls to plan this event. I designed a postcard and my brother Rick took a picture of the Enormous Luther statue on the campus as the lead image. I will be helping to put together a presentation display board to advertise that conference.
The second exhibit table we will be sharing with my sister, Doris Au MacDonald and Sharon Dennis of The Braeded Chord, whose music we sing at LCH’s 8 am service (The Alleluia Mass). Our side of the table will be a display of Ionian Arts music and recordings, in addition to the Ionian Psalter (now available on CD). To entice people to come to our booth, we’ll be giving away goodies from Hawaii such as chocolate covered macadamia nuts. And yes, I’ll be wearing my Carl Crosier commemorative T-Shirt!