In our time, there has been no greater advocate for singing music than Alice Parker. Recipient of six honorary doctorates and the Smith College Medal, Parker has widely influenced choral music in America as a composer, conductor and teacher.
She began composing early, and wrote her first orchestral score while still in high school. After graduating from Smith College with a major in music performance and composition, she completed a master’s degree from The Juilliard School where she studied choral conducting with Robert Shaw. Her arrangements of folksongs, hymns and spirituals with Robert Shaw form an enduring repertoire for choruses all around the world. She continues composing in many forms, from operas to cantatas, sacred anthems to secular dances, song cycles to string quartets. She has been commissioned by such groups as the Vancouver Chamber Chorus, the Atlanta Symphony Chorus, and Chanticleer.
In 1985, Parker founded Melodious Accord, Inc., an organization which presents choral concerts, sponsors workshops, symposia, and her other, many professional activities. Melodious Accord’s Fellows programs have provided unique training for composers, conductors and song leaders. Her techniques have encouraged a generation of music teachers and choral conductors to think about music and the act of conducting in new ways. She has made thirteen acclaimed recordings, most with the Musicians of Melodious Accord, a sixteen-voice professional chorus.
Parker has published books on melodic styles, choral improvisation and Good Singing in Church. Her detailed analysis, The Anatomy of Melody, was released in 2006. In 2010, as a part of the Melodious Accord 25th Anniversary celebration, The Melodious Accord Hymnal was introduced. She has been recognized by Chorus America, the American Guild of Organists, the American Choral Directors Association, The Hymn Society and Choral Arts New England for her lifetime contributions to choral music. Alice Parker has made her home in western Massachusetts.
Paul Vasile is a freelance church musician, consultant, and composer based in New York City. A multitalented musician and dynamic worship leader, he is committed to building, renewing, and re-shaping faith communities through music and liturgy.
Paul brings over twenty years of ministry experience to his work as a consultant, workshop facilitator, and teacher. He is excited to help congregations broaden their repertoire of sung prayer and praise, and to demonstrate how participatory music and liturgy can energize and unify worshippers from varied backgrounds, cultures, and traditions. His skills and background make him a unique resource to congregations in transition, or those experiencing anxiety or conflict in their worship life.
As the Executive Director of Music that Makes Community, Paul is passionate about modeling and sharing leadership practices that sustain the musical and spiritual life of faith communities. He provides support and resources to an international network of leaders committed to a practice of paperless singing, grounded in a theology of welcome and generosity. Additionally, he serves as Director of Music at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, where he directs the Seminary Choir, collaborates with faculty and student worship leaders, and serves as a resource to the wider faith community.
Paul is an inspiring teacher and has been a guest lecturer and worship leader at Union Theological Seminary, General Theological Seminary (NYC), Princeton Seminary, the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and The Candler School of Theology. He has also curated notable concert series, arts events, and educational programs exploring the intersection of music and spirituality.
Committed to expressing and exploring faith in new ways, Paul composes sacred music that expands and enriches the church’s language of praise and prayer. His music is represented in Glory to God, the new hymnal of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and he has written extensively for St. Lydia’s and Not So Churchy, innovative, justice-centered faith communities in New York City.