Christian Congregational Music: Local and Global Perspectives

Roundtables and Workshops

On the first day of the conference, delegates have the option of participating in one morning, and one afternoon event. You will be asked to indicate your preference when you register for the conference.

1A Morning Roundtable

Lift Every Voice and Sing: Congregational Music and the Black Atlantic Discussion moderated by Dr. Birgitta Johnson

1B Morning Workshop

Sacred Song from the Jewish and Muslim Traditions: A Musical Workshop Lead by Dr Abigal Wood and Dr Sahil Warsi 

How are sacred music and sound made and experienced in Jewish and Muslim communities? What is sacred sound and where can we find it? What roles does music play in religious space and how? Starting from our grounding in Jewish and Muslim traditions, we will explore these questions in this participatory workshop through practices of singing, reciting, and dancing.

We will first consider how music is conceived of and understood in Islam and Judaism, through discussion and practical examples. Exploring the soundscapes of religious spaces and the recitation of sacred texts, we will consider whether the sacred/profane dichotomy is relevant to this context. Following this discussion, In the second part of the workshop, participants will be invited to experience practices of movement, song and chanting drawn from Hasidic Jewish and Sufi Muslim traditions.

2A Afternoon Roundtable

Thinking about Shared and Disparate Practices in Congregational Music: A Discussion Among People of the Book. Discussion moderated by Dr. Mark Porter

As a conference, CCMC is committed to conversation between religious traditions, but in practice, how might we develop productive and meaningful scholarly conversations among researchers and practitioners of musics across religious difference? What insights might studying the music of religious Others offer into the ways that we approach more familiar traditions?

This panel brings together five scholars whose research and practice reflects Western and Eastern Orthodox Christian, Muslim, and Jewish traditions. Drawing upon theological, musicological, and practical perspectives, we will explore underlying similarities and differences between the ways that members of the Abrahamic faiths might approach, make and think about music, and will reflect upon productive avenues for future scholarly conversation and research.

Over the course of the session we will explore a number of avenues of conversation, including the different ontologies and understandings of music present within different traditions of faith; the paradigms of analysis that might be employed in thinking across traditions; the linkages of practice and thought which can be traced between them; and the potential challenges, benefits and pitfalls of comparative research when considering musical activity across different religious boundaries.

Jonathan Arnold is Dean of Divinity and fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford. He is a Christian theologian and researcher with a background in Western choral music traditions and, before ordination, he was a regular member of St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir and The Sixteen. His latest publication is Music and Faith: Conversations in a Post-Secular Age.

Alexander Lingas is Reader in Music at City University, London. He is director of Vocal ensemble Cappella Romana, a professional vocal ensemble that performs early and contemporary sacred classical music in the Christian traditions of East and West. He sings regularly for Orthodox Christian worship.

Sahil Warsi is an anthropologist working on the intersection of migration, arts, and mental health. He is a trustee of South Asian Arts UK, and convenes the zikr ceremonies for the local Nur Ashki Jerrahi circle. He also holds workshops and mental health retreats on emotions and listening to the Quran.

John Witvliet is director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and professor of worship, theology and congregational and ministry studies at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary. He has published widely on Christian worship, and has served as collaborating editor in the process of compiling several hymnals.

Abigail Wood is senior lecturer in ethnomusicology at the University of Haifa, Israel and a lay leader of an egalitarian Jewish prayer group in her neighbourhood. She has published widely on contemporary Jewish musics; her recent research focuses on the soundscapes of the Old City in Jerusalem.

2B Afternoon Workshop

How We Got Over: Congregational Music from the One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism African American Ecumenical Hymnal Lecture-demonstration led by Dr. James Abbington