Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Summer Sacred Music Conference

Summer Sacred Music Conference: Finding the Next Normal

July 27-30, 2021

The Wesleyan Sacred Music Institute is excited to offer the virtual Summer Sacred Music Conference. This year’s theme is "Finding the Next Normal" and will focus on ways that we as music leaders can prepare ourselves for what the next normal will be  in the coming year. With sessions on topics like conducting technique, rehearsal planning, rebuilding the singing voice, and choosing appropriate repertoire, there is something for everyone!

After meeting together for a virtual morning sing and greeting, faculty like Victor Johnson, Kevin Fenton, Emily Floyd, Craig Wansink, and Janet James will give daily sessions live in a webinar format where participants will be able to interact with and ask questions of the presenter. In addition, there will be a grab bag of sessions on a variety of topics that can be accessed asynchronously. A full registration will give you access to all sessions (including recordings of the live sessions) for three months after the conference ends.


  • $95 - Full Conference Registration: Get access to all live sessions, as well as access to live-session recordings and Grab Bag material for three months.
  • $45 - One-Day Registration: Choose a day to learn something from each of our headline faculty members. You will also have access to the Grab Bag material for three months.
  • 4 Credits of MUS 310 are also available, contact Dr. Bryson Mortensen at for more information.

Register Now

Live Sessions

Each day holds three opportunities to meet and interact with these great leaders as they share their expertise Each session will include opportunities to ask questions.

Daily at 10:00 am

Kevin FentonKevin Fenton, Professor of Choral Directing and Ensembles at Florida State University

Join Kevin Fenton each morning to learn about a new approach to your rehearsal process and how to improve your conduct gesture to be more meaningful and responsive to the needs of your singers.

  • July 27:  Nine Essential Elements of Every Rehearsal
  • July 28: Nine Essential Elements Applied to Selected Repertoire
  • July 29: A Behavioral Approach to Meaningful Conducting Gestures
  • July 30: Virtual Conducting Workshop

Kevin Fenton, professor of choral conducting and ensembles and director of the FSU University Singers and Men’s Glee (Collegians), has conducted the Virginia Tech Meistersingers (1998), the University Singers (2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2013), and the Festival Singers of Florida (2012 and 2018) in performances at regional and national conventions of ACDA and NAfME.  He has served as a Fulbright Specialist to Sub-Saharan Africa, teaching choral conducting and conducting pedagogy at Kenya’s Conservatory of Music.  If fall, 2019, Kevin taught conducting at the Universitas Pelita Harapan in Jakarta, Indonesia.  As co-founder of AVoice4Peace, Kevin has held AVoice4Peace events in Kenya, Indonesia, Ireland, China, and for the Florida and Southern Region ACDA conventions. Dr. Fenton has conducted choirs in 35 states, including twenty-nine all-state choirs.  Internationally, Kevin was a featured conductor for the International Choral Festival and Conference in Xi’an (2017) and Beijing (2007), South Africa’s National Youth Choir (2016), and the Dublin International Choral Festival (2016).  A champion of new music, Dr. Fenton has conducted over thirty premiere performances. 

Daily at 11:30 am

Victor JohnsonVictor Johnson, Composer, Arranger, and Director of Worship and Music at Shiloh Baptist Church, Plano, Texas

Victor Johnson will introduce us to several of his favorite anthems, some unique choral warm-ups, and new ways to think about how to build community in our choral ensembles.

  • July 27: What They Need to Know, What We Need to Show
  • July 28: A Mixed Bag of Warm-Ups & Choral Quick Fixes
  • July 29: We are Family
  • July 30: Choral Anthem Reading Session

Victor C. Johnson, a native of Dallas, Texas, is the School Choral Editor for SING!, the educational publishing division of Choristers Guild. A prolific composer and arranger, he has over 350 choral works, vocal solo books, and keyboard collections currently in print.
Victor is in demand as a guest conductor, adjudicator, and clinician for music educators and students throughout the United States. He has conducted All-State and Regional Honor choirs in Texas, California, Georgia, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Oregon, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Nevada, and Kentucky. Victor currently serves as Minister of Worship and Arts at Shiloh Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, a position he has held since 2007.

Daily at 12:30

Lunch and Socializing
While you grab your lunch, join the social zoom room and chat with colleagues.

Daily at 1:30 pm

Take advantage of our afternoon sessions, led by Emily Floyd, Janet James, and Craig Wansink who will introduce us to new ways to consider our worship service. Emily Floyd will give some guiding principles on how to re-develop the voice post-pandemic. Janet James will share ways to use elements of Celtic Imagery and Jazz music to create an interactive worship experience and talk about how to move from in-person to online worship. Craig Wansink will share ways to create worship experiences that engage all generations of worshippers.

  • July 27: Re-Writing the Choir Season Post-Pandemic, Emily Floyd
  • July 28: Planning a Celtic Worship Service, Janet James
  • July 29: Insight to Jazz Vespers, Janet James
  • July 30: Deepening Intergenerational Worship, Craig Wansink

Emily FloydSince 2008, Emily Floyd has served as Director of Music Ministries at Shallowford Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, directing a 75 member adult choir, 85 member youth choir, and supervising  handbell choirs and children’s choirs. In addition to church work, Emily serves as the co-director and clinician of the Choristers Guild Institute, a church music certification program held each summer. 

Janet JamesJanet James has been serving as the Pastor of Gayton Kirk Presbyterian Church for 13 years. Janet has a Master of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA, a Master of Education from East Tennessee State University, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tennessee. She has previously served as an Associate Pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Richmond, VA. Janet served as the Moderator of the Presbytery of the James for 2011. Janet preaches and teaches regularly, serves as the Moderator of the Session, and about a zillion other things that help keep the Kirk on the job of furthering God’s mission in the world.

Craig WansinkCraig Wansink is Professor and Coordinator of the Department of Religious Studies and the Joan P. and Macon F. Brock, Jr. Director of the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom at Virginia Wesleyan College. He has his PhD in New Testament and Ancient Christianity from Yale University, and has studied at universities in Japan, Jordan, Germany, and Israel. His primary research interests are in New Testament and world religions. Dr. Wansink was raised in Sioux City, Iowa, where he studied economics as an undergraduate at Morningside College. He received his Master of Divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and served churches in Illinois and Virginia. He is a member of the CIVIC Leadership Institute (2004), he serves on the Board of Trustees at Morningside College, and he regularly speaks in a variety of venues in Hampton Roads, including at the Joint Forces Staff College, at the Institute for Learning in Retirement, at local elementary schools and high schools, and at local churches, synagogues, arts centers, and civic organizations. In 1987 he was ordained as a Presbyterian (PCUSA) minister, and he currently is pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Norfolk, Virginia. Dr. Wansink and his 2 children make their home in Virginia Beach.

Grab-Bag Sessions

In addition to live sessions above, there will be a wide variety of videos available to view on-demand. Sessions can be watched during breaks in-between sessions or and are available three months after the conference.

Sessions include:

  • Handbell Bootcamp and Technique
  • Vocal Health for the Choral Conductor
  • Singing and Moving Through Changes in Our World
  • The Choir Director as Music Educator
  • Quick Ways to Build Vocal Technique
  • Rethinking our Repertoire
  • Music for Children’s Choirs from the Sue Ellen Page Collection
  • New Music for the Advanced Church Choir
  • Vocal Technique for the Aging Singer
  • Using Repertoire to Rebuild Enthusiasm

Register Now