Renewing Congregational Song

Week One

Institute of Sacred Music   

I07  Renewing Congregational Song

June 6-10 1:30-4 p.m.
Patrick Evans

How do we help the members of our congregations reclaim or cultivate their own musicianship? This is an important pastoral ministry, and an essential aspect of liturgy. Many, if not most, of the “people in the pews” in our churches have been vocally disenfranchised by some personal experience in which they were told their singing was not good enough; by the perfection of the recorded music which they listen to on a daily basis, as enabled by ever-advancing technology; and/or by a cultural message, both outside and inside the church, overt or covert, which says that only those who are “trained” singers really need to contribute to the sung portions of the liturgy. Overwhelming cultural forces create passivity and discourage inherent musicianship in all but the trained or highly skilled. This course will examine the theology in the embodied act of singing, as well as the spiritual loss that arises when members of the community are cut off from that act. It will address practical, musical, and pastoral ways to help the members of the assembly reclaim their voices and their own musicianship. And it will examine space, instrumentation, leadership of cantors and choirs, hymnody, service music, congregational repertoire, and will imagine new ways to be sure that “ALL the earth” is well-prepared and invited to “sing a new song.”

Instructor: Patrick Evans is Associate Professor in the Practice of Sacred Music at the Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School. As Director of Music for the daily ecumenical worship in Marquand Chapel, he works with the Dean of Chapel, student chapel ministers and musicians, and a wide range of students, faculty, and guests from varied denominational backgrounds and musical traditions. He was previously associate professor of music at the University of Delaware, where he chaired the voice faculty and directed the opera program, and has served on the faculties of the Montreat and Westminster Conferences on Music and Worship, and as Director of Music for Seattle University’s 2007 Summer Institute for Liturgy and Worship.