The National Conference for Sacred Music (NCSM) is a unique event designed to engage church musicians with fresh new ideas and a variety of approaches to further your work in creating a vital, growing music ministry. I have been involved in the planning of this event since its inception. One of my favorites! Both in terms of content and in the collaboration of three publishers and three denominational organizations.
I was excited that we would be moving to Duke Chapel and Divinity School and partnering with them for the 2021 event. Last February I visited Duke and had a great planning session with Zebulon Highben, director of Chapel Music. We made arrangements with a nearby hotel and Duke transportation on campus and all systems were go—and then COVID happened. Still hopeful, we had another planning meeting in July with Mark Lawson of Morningstar Music and Zebulon Highben. Things were not quite so hopeful after that meeting. Duke was still struggling to make decisions for the fall semester—in-person or virtual or a hybrid. We began talking about various virtual possibilities. In October it became clear that we could not have an in-person event at Duke in 2021. We did not want to lose out on a year, so the decision was made to provide a FREE virtual event with the plan to have an in-person event at Duke in 2022.
All parties have agreed to participate. The dates are January 6–8 (everything will be recorded for future viewing). We will begin Wednesday evening with a concert/worship service provided by Zeb Highben and Duke chapel singers. Thursday and Friday will be a combination of workshops, reading sessions, and new product introductions. Each of the three publishers (Augsburg Fortress, Hinshaw Music, and Morningstar Music) will have an hour session and each denominational organization will have an hour.
There will be time for chatting and sharing greetings and ideas during the morning coffee hour. This will be a wonderful event and a good way to recharge after the busy Advent and Christmas seasons. We look forward to Lent and Easter and a COVID vaccine! And, of course, meeting in person in 2022. I hope to see you at the NCSM conference in January. You can register here.