This event is brought to you by AAM with the help of the department of Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary


The conference is free and open to all. Registration is now open on Eventbrite:

Hosting Local AAM Gatherings (last revised on Friday, May 14)
Maybe, just maybe, some areas of the country will be able to have in-person gatherings for watching the June 14 conference together. All kinds of conversations, plans, and new friendships might come out of this informal time spent together around our shared purpose of making music for the Episcopal Church. Some groups may have a vaccinated-only policy, others may still be under orders to keep socially distant, no matter your vaccine status. Some may be able to offer food and drink, or make plans for dinner afterwards, and others will ask you to bring a brown bag lunch.

Are you interested in inviting a small group of musicians in your area to a watch-party? Contact Sonya Sutton at so that we can list you here. And think about anyone in your area who is not already a member of AAM and invite them too!

The following places are hosting a Watch Party for the Virtual Conference. (This list is being updated regularly, so please check back for possible additions.) For those in:

Note: This schedule is subject to change. Revised May 12, 2021 at 6:43 p.m. EDT

11:00 a.m. Marty Wheeler BurnettWelcome and President’s report: Dr. Marty Wheeler Burnett.

Treasurer’s report: Jason Abel.

Election results, recognition of outgoing officers, and other AAM business.

11:45 a.m. The Rev. Barbara Cawthorne CraftonFeeding Ourselves in Order to Feed Our Flocks: Spirituality for Musicians in This Time of Change and Healing
Led by The Rev’d Barbara Cawthorne Crafton, an Episcopal priest and author who heads The Geranium Farm, an institute for the promotion of spiritual growth.

The Rev. Barbara Cawthorne Crafton is an Episcopal priest and author. She has served a number of churches in New York City, including Trinity Church, St. John’s-in-the-Village and St. Clement’s in Manhattan’s theater district, as well as St James, the American church in Florence. She was a maritime chaplain on the New York waterfront, and served as a chaplain at Ground Zero after 9/11. A spiritual director, Crafton leads retreats and teaches throughout the United States and abroad. Her many books include Come Here, Jesus! (about the many different ways in which Jesus has been seen by Christians), Called (about vocation) and The Alsolife (about the life that lies beyond this one) as well as many books of essays, daily meditations and poetry.

12:15 p.m. Put Me In, Coach! Coaching Relationships for Musicians and Clergy that Support a Healthy Church

Panelists: Marilyn Keiser, Erika Takacs, and Rees Roberts

In a Church that is witnessing decreasing staff sizes in many places, musicians and clergy often struggle to find supportive voices in the difficult but rewarding work of parish ministry. Many musicians feel alone, as they navigate working relationships with clergy and parishioners, not to mention seek to build thriving music programs. Full-time assistant clergy positions are somewhat rare these days, and many new clergy are plunged right into rector positions with little experience. Parish ministry can feel very lonely at times. But lack of experience and loneliness in ministry can be helpfully countered by the presence of coaches who are willing to walk with a musician or priest as they navigate the challenges of ministry, while also helping them be the best ministers they can be in their particular parish situations. In this panel discussion, we will hear from two musicians and one priest about their helpful experiences with coaching as they have ventured into the complex but satisfying work of parish ministry. As a follow-up to this panel presentation, a survey will be sent to all participants, soliciting feedback as the PCDC (Professional Concerns and Development Committee) strives to encourage the role of coaching to strengthen working relationships within the Church.

12:45 p.m. Break
1:15 p.m. Featuring AAM Composers (A Call for Video Submissions!)
Members who have a published work that they would like to share, one that might be useful during this coming year of rebuilding choirs and music programs, are welcome to submit a five-minute video which includes either a performance, or the composer playing through and talking about their music. Include information on the piece’s availability for download/purchase.If more submissions are received than there is time for during the conference itself, all videos will be available to view on AAM’s YouTube channel.

Before May 20
: send your video, five minutes or less, to Jon Johnson
2:00 p.m. Introducing New AAM Members (A Call for brief videos using FlipGrid)
More than 100 new members have joined AAM in the past two years, but without an in-person conference there has been no opportunity to welcome them at our annual New Members’ Reception. Getting to know our colleagues in AAM is a much-valued part of the organization.New members are invited to prepare a brief video, using the FlipGrid app. Tell us about yourself, and let us know what questions you have or how colleagues in the organization can be of help. Brent Erstad (Music Director at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, and St. John’s Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C.) will contact new members and give them further instructions.

We’ll see a few of these videos, and all conference participants will learn more about how to use
FlipGrid in order to interact with new members.
2:15 p.m. Upcoming Conferences
Organizers for the Richmond (2022) and Dallas (2023) conferences, postponed during this time of COVID, will share information about their updated plans for actual in-person conferences. We can’t wait.
2:30 p.m. Honoring Susan Markley
AAM’s long-time—and only—employee will be retiring at the end of 2021, and we will take time to look back at her many years of service to this organization and celebrate all the ways she has helped it to flourish.
2:45 p.m. Bringing Our Best Selves to our Vocation: Safeguarding Our Profession in a Time of Uncertainty

          Stephan Griffin
The Rev. Dr. William Bradley Roberts, facilitator; Marilyn Haskel and Dr. Stephan Griffin, panelists

Some analysts make dire predictions about the future of the Episcopal Church. That translates into uncertainty about the future of the profession of Episcopal Church Musician. Will our own church survive in the next 50 years? During that interval will the profession of Church Musician be stable or disappearing? Even the best statistics don’t tell the whole story, however, because the downward trend of congregations is not inexorable. The Holy Spirit is still at work, inspiring and directing us. Church leaders, both lay and ordained, when following the Spirit, can have a dramatic impact on the future of both the Church and the vocation of Church Musicians. How might we begin now to make that happen?

3:15 p.m. Break
3:30 p.m. Dr. Lydia BeasleyDr. Jacquelyn MatavaGetting Back Into Vocal Shape
Drs. Lydia Beasley and Jacquelyn Matava, staff singers at St. Mark’s, San Antonio, share their strategies for reawakening individual voices and developing healthy group singing.
4:00 p.m. The Rt. Rev. J. Neil AlexanderAddress by the Right Rev’d Neil Alexander, Chaplain to the Association of Anglican Musicians, retired Bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta, and recently retired Professor of Liturgy and Theology at the University of the South, Sewanee.
4:30 p.m. Break
4:45 p.m. Evensong from Washington National Cathedral
A service of Evensong, offered on AAM’s behalf by the Cathedral’s professional choir, under the direction of Canon Michael McCarthy. Organists Tom Sheehan and George Fergus will offer an extended prelude to showcase the cathedral’s 189-rank E.M. Skinner organ. Repertoire for this traditional Evensong will include music by Trevor Weston, Richard Wayne Dirksen, Maggie Burk, David Hogan, and Richard Shephard.

Conference registrants will be sent a link to the Cathedral’s site for Evensong. Washington National Cathedral has set the standard for video production of worship services during the past year, and hearing magnificent music in a magnificent space will surely make us all the more grateful for live music when that becomes safe again.