Catawba students to host two-day Worship Arts Conference April 24-25

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 2, 2015

A new worship arts concentration within Catawba College’s music major is proving popular with students since its introduction this academic year.

As of spring 2015, 13 students, some of them well-focused first-year students, have already declared music as their major, with their sights set on a worship arts concentration, while eight additional students are pursuing a minor in worship arts.

“Today’s worship experience is far different from that of previous generations as it strives to include more current musical styles as well as other creative arts forms including drama, dance and even technical production,” explained Dr. Julie Chamberlain, an associate professor of music and director of sacred music and worship arts at Catawba.

“There is such a need for worship leaders and church musicians who are prepared with practical skills and know-how in the field of worship arts. I believe that we have designed a curriculum that will prepare students to service in the 21st century church and to remain relevant in the field of worship arts.”

Catawba worship arts students and faculty will be demonstrating just how much they have to offer and just what they have learned thus far in the course of their college studies in an upcoming worship arts conference sponsored by Catawba and scheduled April 24 and April 25 at Life Church, 710 Jake Alexander Blvd. W. in Salisbury.

The free, two-day event features sessions, collectively entitled Tips for Tight Teams, about Praise Band Basics, Worship Guitar, Technology in Worship, and Creative Worship Planning.

A Night of Worship opens the conference beginning at 7:30 p.m. on April 24 and will feature guest artist Sandy Hoffman and the Catawba Praise Bands. The conference, with its aforementioned sessions, takes place between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. April 25.

“This conference is an enrichment opportunity for our students and more than that – it is an opportunity to develop their know-how, not their knowledge, but their know-how,” Chamberlain said. “Our students will perform in the worship service on Friday, and then serve in many capacities for the events on Saturday. They will get hands-on experience planning every aspect of the conference, from marketing to administrative tasks.”

Conference leaders, in addition to Catawba faculty and students, include Sandy Hoffman, guest artist (and author of the recent book, “Tips for Tight Teams”), leading Worship Guitar; John Kale of Life Church leading the sessions on Praise Band Basics and Technology in Worship and Steve Hargett of Concord First Assembly leading Creative Worship Planning.

An Open Panel Lunch Session on April 25 entitled Implementing Contemporary Worship: The Dialog Between Pastor and Musician will be moderated by Dr. Phillip Burgess, and includes Bill Rollins, the Salisbury Campus pastor of The Refuge; David Puleo, worship pastor of The Refuge; Dr. Jim C. Dunkin, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church and John Stafford, director of music ministries at First Presbyterian Church.

Registration for the conference is available online through the Catawba College website at