The Church Music Institute (CMI) meets every summer during the last two weeks of June as part of a three-year cycle studying the work of a church musician. This summer CMI studied the breadth and diversity of sacred song in the Judeo-Christian tradition, from ancient Psalms and early Christian liturgies to classic and folk-based hymnody to music of the present day, here and around the world. Highlights included:
- A survey of historical hymnody – Greek, Latin, Reformed, Watts & Wesley, English Cathedral, Evangelical/Gospel – was capped by student-led Hymn Sings.
- The performance of music and liturgy of the Täize Community in France and the Iona Community in Scotland, which was led with particular insight by participants from these communities.
- Global and international communal song was enlivened with indigenous percussion instruments and drumming techniques.
- Chants and spirituals from the African and African-American communities were given context and expression by Dr. Ysaÿe Barnwell, first in a Community Sing and then in a day of workshops.
- The 19th-century American shape-note hymn tradition was explored and then experienced in a Sacred Harp Sing, led by members of a regional shape-note singing community.
- The Church Music Institute Festival Chorus presented Alice Parker’s Melodious Accord, a concert of early American hymns accompanied by brass quartet and harp, conducted by Professor of Voice, Choral Conducting and Choral Music Karen Keating, D.M.A.
Directors of national church music organizations led sessions on a variety of topics; they wrote:
- “It was a wonderful time … I’m grateful for your work and the enthusiasm the students had for learning and digging into what it means to serve the church through song.“ – Brian Hehn, The Center for Congregational Song
- “It was very stimulating and fun to work with the very fine group of students in this year’s group. They [were] very engaged, offered wonderful insights, and raised great questions.” – Michael McMahon, The Hymn Society