The Hymn Society’s Annual Conference is the premier conference focusing exclusively on congregational song in the U.S. and Canada. Each year it features top scholars from the U.S. and Canada as well as other international guests for plenary addresses, 4 hymn festivals planned and led by internationally recognized song-leaders, and over 30 breakout sessions on a variety of topics. The conference is held in mid-July each year at a different location within the U.S. or Canada.
To learn more about the 2023 conference happening in Montreal, Canada, you can go to www.thehymnsociety.org/event.
Each of the 4 hymn festivals offered are always free and open to the public as a part of The Hymn Society’s mission to encourage, promote, and enliven congregational song in each location we host our Annual Conference.
I was in St. Johns, sitting in the front pew with my mother and sister who both suffer from partial hearing loss. I had prayed they would enjoy the docent’s lecture and that there would be something special and beautiful in the visit for them. Imagine my joy when the Hymn Society group asked permission to sing. Standing directly behind and all around us they powerfully sang several stanzas of the most beautiful hymn….It was a memorable afternoon for us all and we’ve spoken of it often. – Jay F. Calhoun, Richmond, VA.
Sessions include special breakouts for text writers, tune writers, and song writers with the opportunity to get written and verbal feedback from the leader on your submitted piece.
Those who attend The Hymn Society’s Annual Conference include church musicians, worship leaders, pastors & priests, composers, poets, publishers, and anyone else who is passionate about congregational song.
Full scholarships for students are available as well as a forum specifically for emerging scholars focusing their studies on congregational song.
Recent Conference Leaders:
- Rev. Dr. I-to Loh – Editor of Sound the Bamboo: CCA Hymnal 2000, Former Seminary President at Tainan Theological College, Ethnomusicologist, and Composer
- Rev. Dr. Cynthia Wilson – Associate General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church, Director of the Center for Music and Worship in the Black Church Experience, and Award-Winning Singer
- Dr. John Witvliet – Director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Professor of Worship, Theology, and Congregational and Ministry studies at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary, Author of Over 7 Books
- Rev. Dr. Molly Marshall – President and Professor of Theology and Spiritual Formation at Central Baptist Theological School, Past-President of the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion, Author of 3 Monographs and multiple book chapters and articles
- Dr. Miguel De la Torre – Professor of Social Ethics and Latinx Studies at Iliff School of Theology, Author of Multiple Books and Articles, Past-President of the Society of Christian Ethics
- Jorge Lockward – Past Director of the General Board of Global Ministries for The United Methodist Church, Minister of Worship at Church of The Village in the Northwest Bronx, and leader of the ecumenical chorale Cántico Nuevo
- Rev. Dr. Paul Westermeyer – Professor Emeritus of Church Music at Luther Seminary, Past National Chaplain of the American Guild of Organists, Author of 5 Books on Church Music
- Dr. John Baldovin, S.J. – Professor of Historical and Liturgical Theology at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Author of Multiple Books on Roman Catholic Liturgy, Past President of the North American Academy of Liturgy
- Mark Miller – Assistant Professor of Church Music at Drew Theological School, Lecturer in the Practice of Sacred Music at Yale University, Published Composer by Abbingdon Press and Choristers Guild
- Rev. John Bell – Composer and Song-Leader for the Wild Goose Resource Group of the Iona Community, Fellow of the Presbyterian Church of Canada and Royal School of Church Music, Editor of the Church of Scotland’s Church Hymnary (Fourth Edition)
- Dr. Marcia McFee – Ritual Artist and Creator of Worship Design Studio, Author of Think Like a Filmaker, Guest Professor at Universities and Colleges across the U.S. and Canada
Recent Conference Locations:
- 2022 – Washington D.C.
- 2021 – Digital
- 2020 – Digital
- 2019 – Dallas, Texas
- 2018 – St. Louis, Missouri
- 2017 – Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
- 2016 – Redlands, California
- 2015 – New Orleans, Louisiana
- 2014 – Columbus, Ohio
- 2013 – Richmond, Virginia
- 2012 – Winnipeg Canada
- 2011 – Colorado Springs, Colorado