The Chorister and the Church of the Future

Models for Training Children and Youth in Sacred Choral Repertories

Friday, February 28, 2014 – Saturday March 1, 2014
University of Notre Dame Conference Center
McKenna Hall


The Chorister and the Church of the Future conference gathered conductors, scholars, educators, church musicians, and students to discuss ways to reinvigorate children's choral music in sacred settings from Cathedrals to local congregations. The assembled presenters hailed from across the country and Europe and represented church choirs, community choruses, universities, public schools, and private charter academies. Our goal was to share ideas and disseminate the collective knowledge of our guests with Notre Dame graduate students, regional music educators, and church musicians. 

Everyone has a story about a song from his or her childhood. Ask a musician about their early artistic influences and many will recall that special individual whose teaching opened up new worlds of understanding. So too will many worshippers recall a special moment or service in which a pastoral musician was able to enliven the worship and make a difference in her or his prayer lives as children or youth. Until the middle of the nineteenth century, virtually all documented composers of the western world were trained as child choristers.

This forum united leading authorities in the training and formation of children's choirs to raise questions that concern the preservation and future growth of children's sacred choral music within religious institutions and concert halls of the future. Our assembly of presenters broke down barriers that often divide scholars from practitioners and performers from parishioners in search of answers.

Guest Presenters:

Jonathan Q. Berryman – Director of Music at Messiah Baptist Church

Title: “Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow”:  Working with Children’s Choirs

Dr. Lorenzo Candelaria – University of Texas-El Paso

Title: “Passionately Loving the New World: Catholic Formation through Song and Dance in Missionary Mexico”

Shawn Crouch -  Founding Director of the Miami Choral Academy

Title: The Miami Choral Academy: An Alternative Model for Public Choral Education

Dr. Brent Gault – Associate Professor of Music Education, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

Title: Music Learning in the Children's Choral Rehearsal

Dr. Mary Goetze – Professor Emerita, Indiana University; Founder of the Indiana University Children's Choir

Title: Building Bridges Between Cultures through Music

Josephine Lee – President and Artistic Director of the Chicago Children's Choir

Melanie Malinka – Director of Music; The Madeleine Choir School

Title: A Choir Director's Guide to Developing Healthy Vocal Habits in Young Singers

Sue Ellen Page - Director of Choirs for Children and Youth; Nassau Presbyterian Church

 Title: A Singing Faith - Children and Youth Leading the Way: From Congregational Song to Chancel Drama

Carolyn Pirtle - Assistant Director of the Center for Liturgy; University of Notre Dame

Title: "From the Mouths of Children": The Role of the Children's Choir in the New Evangelization

Benjamin Saunders - Director of Music at Leeds Cathedral; Diocesan Director of Music. Diocese of Leeds, UK

Title: Leeds Cathedral Choral Programme

Jan Schmidt – Executive Director of American Federation of Pueri Cantores

Title: Pueri Cantores: Rome to Riverside-One Voice at a Time

Lauren Southard - Director of Outreach and Early Childhood Programs, Indianapolis Children's Choir

Title: Special Education Adaptations in Choral Music Settings

Co-hosts and Presenters:

Dr. Margot Fassler – Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy; Director of the Program in Sacred Music, University of Notre Dame

Title: "Alleluia! A Historic Repertory and New Possibilities for Teaching Children and Congregations"

Dr. Mark Doerries - Artistic Director of the Notre Dame Children’s Choir, Post-Doctoral Fellow of Interdisciplinary Conducting; Sacred Music at Notre Dame

Title: Children Training Music Directors to Train Children: The Notre Dame Chilren's Choir and Tomorrow's Church Music Leaders


Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, Henkel's Lecture Series

Sacred Music at Notre Dame

Guest Performances:

Friday February 28, 2014 at 7:00PM

Notre Dame Children's Choir
Church of Our Lady of Loretto, Saint Mary's College,
Free and open to the Public

Saturday March 1, 2014 at 7:30PM

Kronos Quartet
DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, University of Notre Dame
Tickets Required: