Join us for Music Matter 2015 in North Bay, Ontario, April 17-19!

After previous annual gatherings in Brandon MB, Moncton NB, and Red Deer AB, we’re very excited to be holding our annual meeting and music education event this year at Emmanuel United Church in North Bay, Ontario, in Manitou Conference of The United Church. Visit our Eventbrite page to register. We’ll see you in North Bay!

Registration cost:

  • Early bird registration by March 31 – $40
  • After March 31 – $50

Event schedule and details after the break…


6:30pm: Event Registration

7:00pm: Ode To Joyfulness: A Mini Hymn Singing Festival

A time to sing together, celebrating the diversity of music in The United Church of Canada! This is an open public event so invite your friends and family.


8:30am: Gathering with singing

9:00am – 5:00pm: Workshops with a lunch break

(lunch provided as part of your registration fee)

9:00am: THE PIANIST AS ORGANIST – Fred Graham

With little or no warning, you are called upon to play the organ for worship. Keys you can handle, but what are stops? Why do they have numbers on them? Should you use all of them? What are pedals for? Why does organ music look different from piano music? These and other questions will be up for discussion with Fred Graham, long-time organist, and retired professor of church music from Emmanuel College, Toronto, as he assists musicians in transitioning from the piano stool to the organ bench.

A resident of Toronto, Dr. Fred Graham is Associate Professor Emeritus of Emmanuel College in the University of Toronto. As a staff person at the General Council, he was involved in preparing both Voices United (1996) and Celebrate God’s Presence (2000) and travelled widely to conduct workshops. Fred holds music degrees from the University of Toronto and the Eastman School of Music, as well as the PhD in Liturgical Studies from Drew University, New Jersey. He has practised music ministry throughout eastern Canada, and was recently honoured with the Fellowship of the Hymn Society for his contributions to congregational song. His publications include three hymn tunes, a book on Methodist hymns, and the authorized version of the Revised Common Lectionary. He is a Licensed Lay Worship Leader in the United Church.


We are fortunate in the United Church of Canada to have many excellent resources, our own and others, to help us in our work as church musicians. Whether your congregation is large or small, many helpful resources are now available on the internet, and lots of them are low- or no-cost. Some will be familiar, some may be new to you – but in many ways, it has never been easier to “Make a Joyful Noise”!

Lloyd MacLean serves as Music Director at Green Hill-Alma United, a small congregation in rural Nova Scotia, and more recently as Organist-Choir Director at First Presbyterian Church in New Glasgow, NS. Past duties (and joys!) have included being a part of the More Voices Development Team and former Music Editor of Gathering. He is currently Past Chair of Music United. He also plays piano with recording artists, the Common Cup Company. Lloyd is frequently disturbed by the theology expressed in Christian lyrics, old and new, but is always interested in exploring new attempts at sharing our beliefs in song.


11:15am: MUSIC AS PASTORAL CARE – Carol Zacharias

Music in worship is much more than an add-on to fill dead air or to accompany singing — it is an integral part of Christian worship, and has been since Biblical times. Collectively, music assists in building community and establishing identity through the theology we sing. Individually, it presents opportunity for self-expression and personal theological exploration. In addition, there are documented physical and mental health benefits from participating in communal song. For some, those songs we sing are the last things we actively remember and/or respond to.

Carol Zacharias is on a team of three who are responsible for music in Worship at Trinity United Church in Portage la Prairie, MB. Much of her duties are working out rhythms for hymns on djembe and other accompaniment percussion with faithful drummers, be it for choir or for Sunday am practice. In her Agassiz Presbytery in Conf. of MNWO, she teaches traditional rhythms towards developing personal drum song with participants.”

12:00pm: LUNCH (provided with your registration fee)

1:30pm: CHURCH CHOIR 101 – Adam Adler

A session covering topics such as:

  • Church Choir as worship leader vs. Church Choir as performing ensemble
  • Choosing repertoire for small groups, “experienced voices” and inexperienced readers
  • Stretching the Church Choir: Solos vs Choral anthems
  • The Temporary Church Choral Society

Dr. Adam Adler is Assistant Professor of Music Education at Nipissing University and founding Artistic Director of Near North Voices, North Bay’s university-community choir. His current research and creative interests include gender in music and music education, choral community and sustainability, music teacher preparation, and stretching community choirs’ musical limits.


This workshop session provides attendees with an opportunity to read through 10 anthems focussing on different seasons within the liturgical year, that fit well within a United Church of Canada context.

Terry Head is currently the Minister of Music at Bridge Street United Church in Belleville, Ontario and has been in music ministry for over 20 years. Passionate about the gifts music ministry has to offer, Terry loves to share music through congregational singing, choral works and handbell ringing. Terry is regional convenor of Music United for the Bay of Quinte Conference, and is also Vice Chair. Terry is looking forward to coming to North Bay to share his love of sacred music with others and to lead the anthem reading session.



The relationship between a minister and a director of music is often impacted by many external forces outside of the immediate interaction between the two people. The goal of meaningful worship is sometimes lost in what can become a power struggle. Whether introducing a new hymn or planning traditional worship, a minister and a music director need to respect one another’s strengths and expectations, relate in a professional manner, and reframe what is needed for a changing church. Hear how the ideas of music director, minister, and congregation intersect in successful worship planning.

The Rev. Dr. William (Bill) Steadman is part of a team ministry at St. Andrew’s United Church, Sudbury. He has been there since October, 2014, but also served in that congregation (and worked with Dr. Hall) October, 2000- December, 2005. In 40 years of ministry, Bill has worked with 11 music directors — from volunteer accompanists to professional musicians. Due to a series of appointments he has worked with four different music directors in the last 18 months. Bill holds three theological degrees, mainly in biblical studies and stewardship, but also has been a regular contributor to Gathering over the last four decades.

Dr. Robert Hall is an Associate Professor in the Department of Music at Laurentian University and has been the Director of Music at St. Andrew’s United Church, Sudbury since 1995. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Master of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Regina and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Music from the University of Illinois. He also holds the Fellowship diploma from the American Guild of Organists. Bob has held church positions with eighteen ministers in eight congregations in the Anglican, United, and United Methodist churches.

5:00pm Dinner break (on your own)

7:00pm: Annual General Meeting of Music United: The United Church of Canada Association of Musicians

All are welcome to attend this open meeting of our musicians association – the more, the merrier! Your presence and input would be greatly appreciated.


9:45am: Choir practice (join the choir for Sunday worship!)

10:30am: Morning Worship with Emmanuel United Church congregation

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