About CMI 2020
The Church Music Institute is held for two weeks each summer as part of a three-year cycle of intensive study of the skills and knowledge required of a musician working in the church. The curriculum for each year focuses on a different topic — Organ Performance, Conducting (adult, children’s, and handbell choirs) and Congregational Song — while addressing other aspects of a church musician’s work.
This year participants study, conduct and rehearse adult, children’s, and handbell choirs, receiving feedback from the clinicians, choir members, and accompanists. They also design and lead worship services for different occasions incorporating a variety of resources.
Preparing the Conductor
- Studying the score
- On the Podium: Masterclasses in Conducting
- From the Keyboard: Conducting the Choir
Preparing the Choir
- Building the sound you want
- Rehearsal techniques
- Daily rehearsals
Accompanying the Choir
- Adapting accompaniments to the organ
- Working with instruments
Creating an experience-based learning environment
- Movement warm-ups based on Dalcroze methods
- Innovative warm-ups facilitating proper singing
- Music literacy employing a mother-tongue approach
Designing literature-specific vocal and movement warm-ups
Teaching different styles of literature through movement and music-reading
Incorporating children’s choirs in worship services
Creating musical ringing for eyes and ears
- Sight reading
- Bell assignments, passing, and weaving
- Mallets, marts, and more
Exploring rehearsal and conducting techniques and strategies
Developing longer-term rehearsal plans for difficult pieces
Incorporating handbells throughout the worship service – not just the Prelude
Meet the Clinicians
Shenenberger is no stranger to the handbell community. She has been a frequent presenter at Handbell Musicians of America’s Area II Festival Conferences and workshops, both as a clinician and as a director. She has composed and arranged several handbell pieces.
Additional clinician experience includes Dalcroze movement, ear training, harmonic immersion solfege and accompanying. Shenenberger has written and recorded the accompaniments for Sabine Horstmann’s Choral Vocal Technique, James Jordan’s Choral Warm-up Core Vocal Exercises (children’s choir edition), is the author of Learn to Listen, a harmonic introduction to solfege, and is co-author with Dr. Jordan of Ear Training: Aural Immersion Exercises for Choirs, a book which provides intonation exercises and choral warm-ups in eight modes, published by GIA.
Shenenberger has taught on the faculty at Westminster Choir College and West Chester University. She is the principal accompanist for the Westminster Conducting Institute, working closely with James Jordan, Charles Bruffy, Simon Carrington, Bruce Chamberlain, Sabine Horstmann and Weston Noble. She is retired from a 30-year rewarding career as director of music and organist at churches in Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania where she directed a variety of choral, handbell and instrumental ensembles. In Virginia, she is an accompanist for dance classes at Shenandoah University, founder and director of a small women’s vocal ensemble at Lake Holiday and keyboardist in a local jazz quartet.
During his tenure with the Master Chorale, the 120-member symphonic chorus performed 16 world premieres, produced three nationally distributed CDs, and toured twice throughout central Europe. The chorale earned The Margaret Hillis Achievement Award for Choral Excellence in North America, performed in renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, and became the chorus of choice for the National Symphony Orchestra, performing with such renowned conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Kurt Masur and Ivan Fischer.
McCullough is also a composer whose works have been critically acclaimed throughout North America and Europe. Routinely sought after for commissions, his works have been described as “powerful and heart-wrenching,” “mystically beautiful” and “remarkably inspirational.”
In response to an invitation from German and Polish consulates, McCullough led the Master Chorale in the European premiere of one of his most moving compositions, Holocaust Cantata: Songs from the Camps. The work was performed in Krakow, Dresden, Berlin and at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial during the European commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. In November 2014, 70 singers from the Jacksonville Symphony Chorus traveled to New York to form the core of a 120-member chorus under McCullough’s direction in the Lincoln Center premiere of his Holocaust Cantata, presented by Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY).
Previously, McCullough was the founder and music director of two Norfolk-based choruses: the Virginia Chorale and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus. He holds bachelor’s degrees in organ and vocal performance from Stetson University and master’s degrees in sacred music and vocal performance from Southern Methodist University. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, he recently moved to Atlantic Beach, Florida, to focus on his expanding composing career and in 2012 became the director of the Jacksonville Symphony Chorus.
Visit donaldmccullough.com to explore his music and learn more.
Dr. Mitts is associate professor of organ and director of church music at Shenandoah Conservatory. In addition to teaching organ performance and related keyboard skills, he oversees the undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs in church music. Each summer he plans and leads the Church Music Institute, a two-week intensive study of the skills and knowledge required of a musician working in the church.
As the artistic director of Shenandoah’s Bach-Handel Festival of Baroque Music, Dr. Mitts works with students from across Shenandaoh Conservatory in the preparation and performance of early music. He also serves as organist for the annual Festival of Lessons & Carols, a highly anticipated event that he designs and coordinates. Dr. Mitts also leads graduate seminars in music history and music theory, and oversees document preparation for doctoral lecture recitals.
Since 1993 Dr. Mitts has also served as organist and choirmaster at Augustana Lutheran Church in Washington, D.C., a church whose worship life is propelled by dynamic music and liturgy. In this capacity he has composed Mass settings, graduals, psalms and other liturgical elements as well as anthems and festival settings for voices and instrumental ensembles. He has also prepared scholarly performing editions of early music for use in liturgical celebrations and concerts.
Prior to joining the faculty at Shenandoah, Dr. Mitts was associated with Adas Israel Congregation, also in Washington, D.C., as organist, pianist and choral conductor. There he created arrangements of music from the Holocaust and a performing edition of music for the Sabbath by Salamone Rossi, which he later conducted for the Jewish Service of the national convention of the American Guild of Organists in 2010. He has held academic appointments at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, the University of New Orleans, and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
All participants in the Church Music Insitute, whether for audit or for credit at the undergraduate or graduate level, enroll in the appropriate church music course. All first-time registrants not affiliated with Shenandoah University in bachelor’s or master’s programs pay a modest one-time processing fee. For more details see the Church Music Institute Registration Form, Part D–Addendum.
The tuition fees include most course materials and packets. Payment is due at the time of registration.
Mail completed forms and payment to:
1460 University Drive
Winchester, VA 22601
Registration Fees for Each Week
- $450 – Registration as Auditor
- $575 – Registration for Academic Credit, either undergraduate or graduate
- $20 – One-time processing fee (for all first-time registrants, whether for credit or audit)
Applicants enrolled for academic credit, including the Church Music Certificate, should also complete the Church Music Institute Academic Credit Form. These students are expected to participate actively in all sessions, performances, and services. Final evaluation (graded A, B, C, D, F) is based on performance and the quality of projects completed at the end of the session.
The credits may be applied to:
- Academic Programs. This year’s curriculum fulfills the requirements of MUCH 331/531, Church Music I (Week 1) and MUCH 332/532, Church Music II (Week 2). 300-level courses are for undergraduate study; 500-level courses are for graduate study.
- Continuing Education Programs
- The Certificate in Church Music, undergraduate or graduate level, which is awarded following the successful completion of the three-summer cycle of courses and the capstone project.
Note: The Advisor’s Signature will be added when the form is returned to Shenandoah University.
Church Music Certificate
You are invited to pursue Shenandoah Conservatory’s Certificate in Church Music at the undergraduate or graduate level. This certificate is awarded upon the successful completion of three consecutive summers of CMI, covering the courses MUCH 331-336 (Undergraduate) or MUCH 531-536 (Graduate), and the Capstone Project. Since this is an academic program, you are welcome to participate in Shenandoah University’s commencement excises at the end of the spring semester.
Although the undergraduate and graduate programs share the same classes, instruction and coaching, a greater degree of ability and accomplishment is expected of graduate students. The capstone project also has additional requirements for the graduate certificate.
Registration Canceled before 5 p.m. on June 5
A $50 cancelation fee is deducted and the remaining balance refunded
Registration Canceled after 5 p.m. on June 5
Tuition is not refunded
Where to Stay
We’ve partnered with many local hotels that offer discounts to Shenandoah visitors, parents, students and alumni. On-campus housing is also available upon request and includes three meals per day in the cafeteria.
Shenandoah University is located in Winchester, Virginia. The city is rich in history and offers a number of entertainment opportunities, community attractions, restaurants and more.