Perkins’ Sacred Music program was well-represented at the 2022 Annual Conference of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, held July 17-21 in Washington, D.C. This year’s gathering, the first held in person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, commemorated the society’s 100th anniversary. Perkins faculty, students and alumni/ae were among the approximately 300 people attending and leading the program. The Hymn Society comprises representatives from more than 50 denominations; some had traveled as far as 8,000 miles to attend.
Along with co-leader Becca Whitla, Marcell Silva Steuernagel led a sectional workshop on Liberation Theology and hymnody, titled “Sing the World God Imagines: Performing Liberation in Congregational Singing.” Together, they explored liberation approaches to worship and congregational singing and how liberating song can be a catalyst for transformative action in the church and in the world.
Silva Steuernagel, who is Assistant Professor of Church Music and Director of Perkins’s Sacred Music Program, was also a featured session speaker at the Hymn Society Conference, and led a session titled “Protest and Piety in Latin American Congregational Music.” This lecture-recital wove together commentary about the history and poetry of Latin American congregational song with the performance of a wide variety of pieces featured in songbooks from the region.
C. Michael Hawn, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Church Music and (until Sept. 1, 2022) Director of the Doctor of Pastoral Music Program at Perkins, also served as a featured speaker at sessions on the Life and Work of Taiwanese Hymnologist, I-to Loh, and the presentation of Hawn’s new hymnology text, Sing with Understanding: Introduction to Theology in Christian Congregational Song, 3rd Ed. (Chicago; GIA Publishing, 2022) with Beverly A. Howard, Martin V. Clarke, and alum Geoffrey C. Moore (Ph.D. ’20). The sectional provided an overview to this new pedagogical approach to the study of congregational song.
Perkins alumnus Ryuichi Mizuno (Th.M. ‘92), Professor of the Hebrew Bible at the School of Theology, Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan, also served as a featured leader for a sectional program on “Imagining Japanese Hymns in a World God Imagines.” Another Perkins alumnus, Tommy Shapard (D.P.M. ’21) presented a sectional on “A Micah Approach to Missional Musicking for Racial Justice.
Three M.S.M. students — Fernando Berwig Silva, Mykayla Taylor, and Seth Luna — also attended the conference as well as Doctor of Pastoral Music student Alan Moser and alumnus Joshua Taylor (D.P.M. ’20). The incoming president of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada is Hilary Donaldson (M.S.M. ’10).
Hawn was quoted in a Religion News Service story about the conference and the Hymn Society’s 100th anniversary; read the story here.