Musicians National Network event explores new directions

Musicians National Network event explores new directions

May 17, 2010
Written by Gregg Brekke

An unprecedented 17 workshops, two prominent keynote speakers and the first-ever staging of the event west of the Mississippi River will trumpet the 2010 UCC Musicians National Network event June 28 – July 1 in suburban Denver. Titled "Don't Just Sit There!", the biennial conference will bring together musicians, pastors, worship planners and liturgical artists.

"We are really trying to raise the bar here," says Rev. Scott Ressman, minister for worship, music and liturgical arts for the UCC's Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Ministry Team. "About 75 percent of the workshops are new, as is having two keynote speakers. There's also been a lot of feedback that in the past we've only held the event east of the Mississippi River. Denver has an awful lot to offer culturally, so we're hoping people will come early and stay late."

Another first is the Monday-through-Thursday schedule of the event, which is sponsored by Local Church Ministries. "It's always been on weekdays overlapped with a weekend," says Ressman, noting that attendees who work for a church need to be home on Sundays.

Keynote speaker Dr. Marcia McFee – highly regarded for her interactive style and a catalyst behind the event's "Don't Just Sit There!" title – brings fresh experiences to a wide range of worship settings, says Ressman. She recently designed and led 22 worship services over a 10-day period for the international quadrennial General Conference of the United Methodist Church. McFee holds a master's of Theological Studies degree from Saint Paul School of Theology and a Ph. D in Liturgical Studies at the Graduate Theological Union.

Also serving as keynote speaker will be Mark Hayes, a Christian composer, author, musician and performer. His career comprises international tours to Europe, the Far East, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Brazil. Hayes' unique choral settings draw from such diverse styles as gospel, jazz, pop, folk and classical, and his personal catalog includes 700-plus published original compositions and arrangements. His album "I've Just Seen Jesus" received the Dove Award – the equivalent to a Grammy in gospel music.

Among the 17 workshop offerings are those covering accessible service music for the organ; copyright issues; hymn improvisation; African-American music; interpretative movement for choirs; keyboard improvisation; the performing arts in liturgy and theology; progressive Christian worship music; and skills for success with adult and children's choirs.

Conference attendees will also have an opportunity to enjoy the combined sound of the Denver Gay Men's Chorus and Denver Women's Chorus on June 29. Hayes will perform the following evening.

Registration fee is $249. Single-day registrations are available for $99 per day. Hotel accommodations ($113.70 per night) will be provided by The Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center. To register, click here

For more information, contact Ressman at 216-736-3870 or

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