The 2023 Polyphony conference was a wonderful gathering of more than 50 church musicians at the Scarritt Bennett Center in Nashville. The mix of panel discussions, presenters, performances and worship struck the right balance of information and inspiration as we explored our theme of adaptation.
Table conversations were led by facilitators Adam Cogliano, Anita Thompson, Chip Handrich, Susan Deal and Suzanne Ringer on how to adapt to challenging and changing circumstances in music ministry
Kyle Damron guided us in morning prayer in Wightman Chapel
Tim Sharp curated and led two choral reading sessions
Dr. Jeffery Ames, Belmont University, led two significant sessions: “Adapting Choral Artistry for the Church Choir” and “Performance Practices of the Negro Spiritual: Appropriation or Appropriate”
The conferees heard performances by the legendary Fisk Jubilee Singers with Dr. Anthony Williams and “High Lonesome Bluegrass Mass” led by Tim Sharp, Immanuel Baptist Choir and the Chuck Nation band
Susan Deal, Doug Haney and Tim Sharp presented “The Harmony Project: what we’re learning,” the first installment of a research initiative focused on the question, What do church musicians need to thrive in the decade ahead.
Dr. Diana Sanchez-Bushong shared information on “Resources for Worship and Worship Planners”
Thank you to all of our facilitators and presenters who brought new ideas and helped us think about strategies for adapting, and thank you to the participants who attended and engaged so fully. Next year’s conference is in development and we hope to release information by early spring 2023. Watch the Polyphony website and emails for more information.