Kemp Church Music Symposium at Westminster Choir College

Come spend a day with David Cherwien, Susan Cherwien and Helen Kemp for the Kemp Church Music Symposium. Explore the value of poetry, especially as it relates to hymnody. What makes a good hymn text? How shall we sing them? Take home practical tips for encouraging congregations to sing and to sing boldly.
Saturday, August 28, 2010

Are you a church musician looking for ways to beat the "Hymn-Singing Blahs?"  If the answer is yes, then you’ll find new ideas and techniques for encouraging congregations to sing at the 2010 Kemp Church Music Symposium, which will be held Saturday, September 25 at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton.

Presented by David and Susan Cherwien and Helen Kemp, the symposium will include sessions that focus on the power of poetry and hymn texts, how to encourage congregations to sing hymns from different cultures, basics for accompanists and two hymn sings.

David Cherwien is cantor at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minn. and music director for the National Lutheran Choir, also based in the Twin Cities. He has held full time parish music positions in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Chicago, Seattle and Berlin. During the 2000-2001 academic year he served as organist/ cantor of Christ Chapel and visiting instructor of music at Gustavus College, St. Peter, Minn. He is author of the book Let the People Sing, a practical guide for those who lead the congregation in song. Dr. Cherwien has distinguished himself among American organists by his ability to play an entire church service - including prelude, postlude, liturgy and hymns – with very little reference to printed music. In the European tradition of church organists, going back to the time of Bach and before, he composes or improvises much of the music he plays in a worship service. The music is based on the lessons and liturgy appointed for the day and even on the texts of the hymns to be sung.

Susan Cherwien is a freelance writer and musician.  She has written numerous hymn texts which appear in denominational hymnals in the United States and Canada, and she is the author of O Blessed Spring: Hymn Texts of Susan Palo Cherwien, Crossings: Meditations for Worship, To God Will I Sing, From Glory Into Glory and Come, Beloved of the Maker.

Helen Kemp has been training singers, teachers and conductors in the art of choral singing for over 7 decades.A specialist in the area of training young voices, she has served as guest conductor and clinician in all 50 states and around the world, in school, university and church settings. A hallmark of her work is her ability to empower dedicated volunteers to be successful choir directors, and to present techniques so solid and engaging that highly-trained professionals continue to learn from her. With her late husband John Kemp, she served two tenures on the faculty of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, N.J., where she was named professor emerita of voice and church music. In 2010, she was given the inaugural “Helen Kemp Award for Lifetime Commitment to Excellence in Choral Music” by the ACDA, Eastern division.

The Kemp Endowment for Church Music at Westminster Choir College of Rider University honors the memory and legacy of John S.C. Kemp, church musician and educator, who chaired the sacred music department at Westminster during the 1970s and early ’80s. It seeks to support current and successive generations of church musicians at a crucial time in the history of church music. Its foundation is based on Dr. Kemp’s belief that rigorous musical training and scholarship, as well as continuing education and the development of pastoral skills, are crucial for music ministry to be effective. By supporting student scholarships and lectureships at Westminster, the Kemp Endowment sponsors educational programs that engage pastors and musicians in conversation about liturgy and song.

Registration for the symposium, which is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., is $135, including a one-time $25 annual registration fee.  To learn more or to register call Westminster’s Office of Continuing Education at 609-924-7416.  You can also register online.

Download conference brochure.

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Helen Kemp leading a hymn sing at the 2009 Kemp Church Music Symposium.