UU Musicians Network

A professional organization of the Unitarian Universalist Association

Registration closes Friday, July 11 at 5 p.m. No onsite registration

                UUMN Conference 2014

                              San Diego, CA

                           July 16 – 20, 2014

        Host Church - First UU Church of San Diego

Hotel - DoubleTree by Hilton San Diego - Hotel Circle

                    Clinician - Ruben Valenzuela

      Music Supplier - Chandler Music - Prescott, AZ

                                  Note: Doubletree is full.
        For help with accommodations contact Bea Ann Phillips.

Links and Downloads

Online registration US - click here

Online registration Canada - click here

icon 2014 Conference registration form - printable

iconSchedule-at-a-glance (updated)

icon Detailed schedule (new)

iconWorkshop Descriptions (updated)


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Welcome to San Diego and the 2014 UUMN Conference

Honoring the Past – Engaging the Future



To honor music of the past, we will take a journey of discovery with Ruben Valenzuela, our guest choral director. Ruben Valenzuela is the founder and music director of the Bach Collegium San Diego, an acclaimed vocal and instrumental ensemble that specializes in Renaissance and Baroque period performance. Under Ruben’s direction, the conference choir will learn choral music from the vast library of the Mexico City Cathedral.  This is where Valenzuela did his doctoral research in both music brought from Europe to New Spain and in music composed by indigenous Mexican composers of the 17th and 18th centuries.

To engage the future, we will take another journey into contemporary music and worship under the leadership of Dana Decker, Associate Director of Music at First UU Church of San Diego. Dana will work with a select group of instrumentalists and soloists from the conference to form the band that will lead and accompany a blended service in two Sunday worship services at First UU Church of San Diego. The conference will also offer a “contemporary worship workshop track” so that attendees will be able to engage other aspects of contemporary worship planning and learn to integrate this approach into the more familiar patterns of UU congregational worship. In addition to the contemporary worship track, the conference will feature workshops on handbells and handchimes, children’s choirs, vocal pedagogy, choral conducting, and other topics and guest clinicians as the Conference Planning Committee develops these themes over the coming weeks.

Bring your instruments to San Diego, whether you play period instruments or modern instruments. Michael Holmes will organize the early music players into an ensemble to perform during the conference, and Dana will work with the band for the Sunday services.

Our Sunday morning worship services will be more like a music festival Sunday, rather than a standard “preaching service,” so we will accommodate a broad spectrum of music, demonstrating how blended/balanced music can succeed in our UU context.

Plan to join us in balmy San Diego for a conference that both honors the past and engages the future.

Conference Planning Committee

Dallas Bergen, Music Director, First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, ON
David Blazer, Director of Music, West Shore UU, Cleveland, OH
Julie Enersen, Worship Arts Director, Unitarian Church, Lincoln, NE
Donna Fisher, UUMN Executive Administrator; Director Children’s Choir, UU Church of Charlotte, NC
Ken Herman, Music Director/Organist, First UU Church of San Diego, CA
John Hubert, Director of Music, First Universalist Church of Denver, CO
Claudia Keyian, Music Director, UU Church of Haverhill, MA
Bea Ann Phillips, Conference Planning Consultant; Director Children’s and Youth Choirs, UU Church of Arlington, VA
Patrick Scofield, Committee Chair; Music Director, UU Church of Vancouver, WA


 Professional Development Day

 Music as Story: Gazing into Mystery, History, and Beyond with Rev. Leon Dunkley

pre conference session Wednesday, July 16 - $75 separate registration fee

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. -Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Leon DunkelyHow can music describe life's mysteries? How can we tell our own life's stories with music? And what about the stories of our faith? How does music express Unitarian Universalist history and shape our present and future? Let’s explore how music helps us say who we are and be who we want to be!

The Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist. From the church of his childhood, the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Monmouth County in Lincroft, NJ, Leon learned about the sweetness of life, and about compassion, peace and possibility.

He received his undergraduate degree at Tufts University and his Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Pittsburgh. He was interested in traditional drumming of Ghana and the Republic of Zaire, the Kora tradition of Senegal, the Gamelan traditions of Java and Bali in Indonesia, the African American and jazz tradition(s) in the Americas and, most recently, in Bluegrass and Country Blues.

Music carries a spiritual dimension that can reveal the fullness of our humanity. The experience of this fullness may be fascinating for the intellect but it is also enriching for the soul. It was the spiritual dimension of music that called Leon away from academia and into Unitarian Universalist ministry.

Leon attended the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, California. He served Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul, MN, from 2008 to 2012. He is now Associate Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring. He sings and plays several instruments- including guitar, piano, conga, gangogwe (West African double bell), didjeridu. He is just getting started on the dobro and octave mandolin. He is a humble but unapologetic beer snob and, for thirteen wonderful years, learned deep life lessons from Samori Marksman Dunkley, the wisest of Yellow Labrador Retrievers. He is writing a book on spiritual growth and radical forgiveness.


Ruben Valenzuela - Choral Clinician

Ruben ValenzuelaRUBEN VALENZUELA, Founder and Music Director of the Bach Collegium, San Diego since 2003, has led the ensemble in varied and diverse programs encompassing the music of the Renaissance, early and high Baroque, through music of the early Classical era. Under his artistic direction, the Bach Collegium San Diego has given highly acclaimed premiers of historically informed performances in the San Diego music community. Such premiers include Handel’s Messiah and Theodora, Bach’s St John Passion, B minor Mass, and numerous Cantatas, Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, and staged performances of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.  He has led the Bach Collegium San Diego ensemble on several international tours to the Festival Internacional del Órgano Barroco in Mexico City, and most recently toured with the ensemble to Bolivia to the IX Internacional de Música Renacentista y Barroca ‘Misiones de Chiquitos’. As a guest conductor he has recently led the San Diego Chamber Orchestra in performances of Haydn's Creation, and has coached, and led, the USC Baroque Sinfonia in performances of Handel's Dixit Dominus and regularly works with this country's leading early music specialists.  As a musicologist, he has conducted research at the Centro Nacional de Investigación, Documentación e Información Musical, Carlos Chavez (CENEDIM), with an emphasis on the Sanchez Garza collection, and presently at the Archivo del Cabildo of Mexico City Cathedral.  He is currently a PhD candidate in Musicology at Claremont Graduate University where his dissertation research focuses on basso continuo practice at Mexico City Cathedral (1650–1750).  Additionally, he is the Director of Music & Organist at St Peter's Episcopal Church, Del Mar.


Dr. Marcia McFee - Plenary Speaker

Dr. Marcia McFee is an author, worship designer and leader, professor, preacher and artist. Her engaging and interactive style has been called “refreshing,” “inspiring,” and “unforgettable.” Marcia combines her background and experience in professional companies of music, theater and dance with a variety of worship and preaching styles in order to provide a fresh experience at each worship setting. Marcia has provided worship design and leadership at numerous international and regional gatherings.

Marcia’s passion for helping the church to worship fully is especially directed toward the education of local congregations. She travels extensively in order to teach regional workshops that are accessible to congregational leaders and worship teams. These one-day workshops are usually hosted by a church, underwritten by district or conference bodies or by registration fees, and open to all churches in a particular area. Participants have commented that these workshops are inspirational as well as practical, no matter the “style” of worship practiced or denomination of the participants. Additionally, Marcia has begun a program of continuing education events in her home town of Lake Tahoe and an online subscription service to Worship Design Studio that offers inspirational and educational help for worship teams featuring a ground-breaking worship design application.

As well as her experience with local church worship, Marcia specializes in designing and leading conference worship. Over the last 18 years, she has coordinated worship for countless regional and agency conferences. Most recently, she designed and led 29 worship services over a 10 day period for the international quadrennial General Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Dr. McFee received a Master’s of Theological Studies degree at Saint Paul School of Theology with a concentration in Preaching and Worship, where she recently received the Outstanding Graduate Award from the Alumni Association. She earned a Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies at the Graduate Theological Union with an allied field of Ethics. She has been a guest lecturer and adjunct faculty at twelve seminaries. Marcia is an avid skier and the co-author of “Spiritual Adventures in the Snow: Skiing and Snowboarding as Renewal for Your Soul”.


General Information


In addition to the contemporary worship track, the conference will feature workshops on handbells and handchimes, children’s choirs, vocal pedagogy, choral conducting, and a host of other topics. Click here for a current list of  workshops.


The conference bookstore is always busy and vibrant. There are options open for vendors, for UUMN members attending the conference who have a small number of items for sale, for UUMN members attending the conference wishing to bring free promotional or educational items for display, and a music/book swap area for items you are no longer using. Click here for bookstore reservation form. Space is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Reserve now!


2014 Scholarships have been awarded. Look for 2015 scholarship applications in January.


For several years, we have matched first-time attendees with veteran conference participants in order to help them meet other members and to have their questions answered. First-timers and mentors are invited to arrive at the opening reception at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, July 16 so that they can get acquainted and meet the other first timers before the rest of the group arrives at 6:00 pm. If you would like to be assigned a mentor OR if you are willing to serve as a mentor, please check the appropriate box on your registration form.


There will be four choral repertoire reading sessions this year.  Registrants will receive packets for each of the following:

  • UU composers
  • Unison/Easy SATB
  • Medium/Difficult
  • Congregational hymns/songs selected from 2014 Silliman Competition submissions



There will be opportunities for conference attendees to perform as soloists or in an ensemble at lunchtime recitals. All music is welcome: classics, originals, secular, sacred. Contact Claudia Keyian at claudia@claudiamusic.com to sign up.


Plan to arrive by 7 PM in time for our opening program and dessert reception. You’ll have a chance to meet others from your area.  We will mingle with each other, welcome newcomers, and sing together in an energizing and fun opening celebration sure to prepare you for the exciting days ahead.


The conference banquet will be held on Friday, July 18 beginning with a cocktail hour at 6:30pm. As always, we look forward to the fellowship of having a meal together and the sharing of a different kind that takes place at the Variety Show. Consideration for performances at this yearly event is given to newcomers at the conference and others who haven’t participated previously – remember we are looking for fun (silly) light entertainment, and please keep your act to a maximum of 3-4 minutes. More information on this will be forthcoming and will be posted on the UUMN website.


All conference attendees are eligible to sing in the conference choir that rehearses Thursday, Friday and Saturday with our choral clinician, Ruben Valenzuela. The conference culminates on Sunday morning with the choir singing at two worship services, 9:30 am and 11:30 am at First Unitarian Church of San Diego. Our closing circle will follow the second service.


The DoubleTree by Hilton San Diego – Hotel Circle is located within minutes of the First Unitarian Church of San Diego and major area attractions including: Historic Gas Lamp District, Sea World, San Diego Zoo, Historic Old Town, Balboa Park, Seaport Village, San Diego waterfront and the beautiful Southern California beaches. The hotel offers a brand new fitness center, featuring the latest, state-of-the-art Precor® equipment and a beautiful large, outdoor heated pool and spa.

Conference attendees are responsible for making their own hotel reservations. The conference rate is $174 plus tax per night single/double occupancy, $184 plus tax for triple occupancy and $194 plus tax for a quad and includes complimentary wifi, and breakfast!

NEW this year, only conference attendees staying at the DoubleTree will receive complimentary transportation to and from the church each day.  All others must purchase a bus pass. (see Transportation Info below)

Hotel reservations can be made:

Please keep in mind: July is prime tourist season in San Diego!  Rates are high and rooms go fast!  This is a great rate for the area! We urge you to book your hotel room as soon as possible.

Please note: a one night’s deposit is required to guarantee your reservation and will be charged at the time your reservation is made. This amount will be applied to your total bill at the end of your stay.  Deposits are refunded for cancellations made at least 72 hours prior to your arrival date.

If you have any problems making your hotel reservations, please contact Bea Ann Phillips, bphillips@bplanning.net.

The cut-off date for making hotel reservations is Friday June 13, 2014After this date, or when the room block fills, we can no longer guarantee room rate or availability.  We urge you to make your reservations as soon as possible.

Need help finding a roommate? Send your arrival/departure days, number of roommates, any smoking/non-smoking, gender or other restrictions to Donna Fisher at uumn@uumn.org.

A Word about Staying at the Conference Hotel……

As is the case for any conference, room rates we negotiate with conference hotels are based upon an estimated number of rooms to be utilized and services used.  In exchange, we receive complimentary meeting space and other perks that would otherwise cost the organization a considerable sum of money.  This allows us to keep our conference registration fees very reasonable.

If we do not fulfill our room block obligation at the conference hotel, we risk significant penalties which will ultimately show up in increased registration fees.

We understand that cost is an issue for all of us and we do our best to keep the costs of this conference as low as possible without suffering quality.  We encourage you to consider sharing a room to contain costs rather than staying elsewhere.  Not only will this help UUMN and its members moving forward, staying at the hotel allows you to maximize the value of this conference through informal networking and socializing that are difficult to achieve if you stay elsewhere.


The DoubleTree by Hilton San Diego – Hotel Circle  is located just 15 minutes from the San Diego International Airport. Cabs are readily available at the airport and will cost about $20-$25 one way.

Cloud 9 shuttle (recently merged with Super Shuttle) is $13 one way (info below)

  • Terminal 1:After collecting luggage, follow the signs to the Ground Transportation Sky Bridge Escalator near Baggage Carousel 3, then take the escalators back down on the other side to the “Shuttle for Hire Island”. You can then present confirmation number to our uniformed Customer Service Representative for further assistance.
  • Terminal 2:After collecting luggage, follow the signs to the Ground Transportation Exit near baggage carousels 6, 7, 8 and use the crosswalk to reach the “Shuttle for Hire Island.” You can then present confirmation number to our uniformed Customer Service Representative for further assistance.
  • Terminal 3 (Commuter):After collecting luggage, exit the Commuter Terminal doors, use the crosswalk to the “Shuttle for Hire Island,” then request Cloud 9/SuperShuttle from the airport's representative.
  • All Terminals:If unable to locate a representative using the instructions above, please call local dispatch at 1 916-999-3260 for assistance.


Buses will transport conference attendees staying in conference hotel to/from hotel /church daily Thursday through Sunday.

NEW THIS YEAR:  Bus transportation services to and from First UU of San Diego each day will be complimentary for Conference Hotel guests ONLY.  All others must arrange their own transportation or purchase a bus pass for $40.

If you have a car a special discount of $10 per night for overnight parking at the hotel will be offered to UUMN hotel guests.

If you have questions please contact Bea Ann Phillips; bphillips@bplanning.net.


Conference hotel rate includes breakfast. Lunches on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday which will be provided at the church. Friday night banquet requires separate fee and registration. There are numerous restaurants in all price ranges near the church and the hotel.


Plan to arrive Wednesday afternoon, July 16 and depart on Sunday, July 20, no earlier than 1:00pm so that you can enjoy the entire conference. If you will be attending the Professional Development Day (PDD) on Wednesday, you will need to arrive on Tuesday, July 15. The UUMN Board of Trustees should arrive on Sunday evening, July 13, for Monday meeting and Music Leadership Certification candidates are reminded to arrive for Monday evening reception/orientation and Tuesday classes.


Make the most of your stay!  We encourage you to check out all the fun things to do in the San Diego area at http://www.sandiego.com/