Welcome to Shenandoah Conservatory’s Church Music Institute, held for two weeks each summer as part of a three-year cycle studying the work of a church musician. This year we will explore the diversity of the Church’s Song, from ancient Psalms and early Christian liturgies to classic and folk-based hymnody to music of the present day here and around the world. Plan now to join us for two memorable and inspirational weeks in the Shenandoah Valley!
Week 1: June 16–21
Week 2: June 23–28
J. Michael McMahon
Come into God’s Presence with Singing
Each day begins with Morning Prayer, followed by classes and workshops
exploring the depth and variety of the Church’s song throughout the ages.
- Singing the Psalms
- Chant – Ancient & Modern
- Classic, Folk, and Shape-Note Hymnody
- African-American Sacred Song
- Sung Prayer from the Taizé and Iona Communities
- Global Music
- The Church’s Song in the 21st Century
- Giving the Song its Proper Voice: Crafting Accompaniments, Choral Settings, and Organ Improvisations
- Singing a New Song: Composing Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs for Worship
Opening Festival: “Ancient – Modern: The Church’s Song”
7:00 Sunday evening June 16 • Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
designed and led by Brian Hehn
Choral Festival: “Melodious Accord” by Alice Parker
5:30 Friday afternoon June 21 • Braddock Street United Methodist Church
CMI Festival Chorus, brass quartet and harp
conducted by Karen Keating
7:00 Sunday evening June 23 • Goodson Chapel of Shenandoah University
designed and led by Ysaÿe Barnwell
Sacred Harp Sing
5:00 Wednesday afternoon June 26 • Goodson Chapel of Shenandoah University
followed by Dinner on the Grounds • Home of Dr. J. Thomas Mitts
Closing Festival: “Come into God’s Presence with Singing”
5:30 Friday afternoon June 28 •
designed and led by participants in the Church Music Institute
Ysaÿe M. Barnwell, Ph.D. MSPH, is a commissioned composer, arranger, author, actress and former member of the African American female a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock. She is a vocalist with a range of over three octaves and appears on more than twenty-five recordings with Sweet Honey as well as other artists. Trained as a violinist for 15 years beginning at the age of 2 1/2, she holds degrees in speech pathology (BS, MSEd), cranio-facial studies (Ph.D.) and public health (MSPH). She was a professor at Howard University College of Dentistry for over a decade, and over the following 8 years developed training programs in Child Protection at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center, and administered community-based health programs at Gallaudet University, all in Washington DC. For almost thirty years, and on three continents, Barnwell has led the workshop Building a Vocal Community – Singing In the African American Tradition, which utilizes oral tradition, an African world view and African American history, values, cultural and vocal traditions to build communities of song among singers and non-singers alike. Her pedagogy is highly respected among musicians, educators, health workers, activists, organizers, and members of the corporate and non-profit sectors.
Brian Hehn, Director of The Center for Congregational Song, is an inspiring song-leader equally comfortable leading an a cappella singing of “It Is Well” as he is drumming and dancing to “Sizohamba Naye.” Experienced using a variety of genres and instrumentations, he has lead worship for Baptists, Roman Catholics, United Methodists, Presbyterians, and many more across the U.S. and Canada. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from Wingate University, his Master of Sacred Music from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and is certified in children’s church music (K-12) by Choristers Guild. He has articles published on sacred music and congregational song in multiple journals and has recently co-authored two books on drumming in the church published by Choristers Guild. While working for The Hymn Society as the Director of The Center for Congregational Song, he is also adjunct professor of church music at Wingate University in Wingate, North Carolina and Associate Director of Contemporary Music at the Cathedral of Mary our Queen in Baltimore, MD. Brian lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife, Eve, and son, Jakob.
J. Michael McMahon became Executive Director of The Hymn Society on September 1, 2018. An ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Mike is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Washington Theological Union, a Master of Arts degree in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from The Catholic University of America. From 2001 until 2013 Mike served as President and CEO of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM), an organization of mostly Roman Catholic musicians, liturgists, clergy, and other pastoral leaders. For many years he worked in full-time church ministry, most recently from 2013 to 2018 as Minister of Music at National City Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Washington, D.C. Prior to 2001 Mike served churches in Virginia and Delaware as a full-time pastoral minister in the areas of music, worship, and Christian initiation. In addition to his full-time work as a pastoral minister, music director, and association executive, Mike has taught in the Department of Theology at The Catholic University of America and has been featured as a speaker and clinician for numerous regional church gatherings and national music organizations. He is the author of a book on Christian initiation, has written numerous articles on worship and church music for a variety of journals, and has contributed to several books on music ministry. A native of Pittsburgh, Mike has long been a resident of the Washington area and currently lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his husband Ray Valido.
Undergraduate or graduate credit is available for participating in the Institute, which can be applied to academic or continuing education programs. A Certificate in Church Music may be earned with the successful completion of the three-summer cycle of courses. See the Registration & Fees page for details.
For more information
Contact the Director of the Church Music Institute, Dr. J. Thomas Mitts, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (202) 425-4586.