Organ, Sacred Music, and Historical Keyboards

Utech Hymnody Symposium: Nov. 1, 2019

The George W. Utech Congregational Hymnody Fund was established at the Eastman School of Music in 2011 through the generosity of Mrs. Krestie Utech in memory of her husband George, who was a published writer of hymn texts. The Utech fund supports “the writing, composition, and promotion of texts and music for Christian congregational singing” as well as “educational initiatives most closely aligned with the intended purpose of the funds as related to Christian hymns and congregational singing.” The Utech Hymnody Symposium is held at Eastman in odd-numbered years, opposite the EROI (Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative) Festival in even-numbered years.

About this year’s symposium:

For the 2019 Symposium, the Utech Fund has supported both a newly commissioned hymn text by Dr. Carl P. Daw Jr., “Out of Silence Music Rises,” and a new tune composed for the text by Dr. Larry Visser, winner of the 2019 Utech Hymn Competition. This new hymn will have its first singing at Evensong for All Saints, to be held at Christ Church, Rochester. Click here to learn more about Dr. Visser and the Utech Hymn Competition.

Preceding the service of Evensong is the Symposium, featuring talks by Dr. Carl P. Daw Jr. (“Why Create Hymns?”) and by Dr. Robin A. Leaver (“Why Study Hymns?”), followed by a discussion moderated by Dr. Crista Miller, who will also give an address at the 6:30 pm banquet.

Registration: While registration for the banquet is now closed, the lectures and Evensong portions of the Symposium are open to everyone. Please contact Chelsea Barton ( for more information.

Lodging: There is no official hotel for the 2019 Utech Hymnody Symposium. Registrants may book their own accommodations as is appropriate. Suggestions regarding accommodation in the Rochester are may be found here.

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm Symposium (Hatch Recital Hall, Eastman School of Music)

  • Dr. Carl P. Daw Jr. (Boston University): “Why Create Hymns?”
  • Dr. Robin A. Leaver (Emeritus, Westminster Choir College): “Why Study Hymns?”
  • Discussion moderated by Dr. Crista Miller (Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Houston)
  • Introduction of composer winning the tune/setting competition; brief remarks

5:30 pm Evensong (Christ Church)

  • Evensong for All Saints led by Stephen Kennedy, Nathan Laube, William Porter, and David Higgs
  • First singing of commissioned hymn text by Dr. Carl P. Daw Jr.: “Out of Silence Music Rises”

6:30 pm Banquet (Max of Eastman Place)

  • Address by Dr. Crista Miller