The name John Ferguson is immediately associated with hymnody and the words "hymn festival". Every year he is invited to design and lead such events, both in local congregations and at gatherings of organists, choral conductors, and church musicians. In 1995 he designed and led a hymn festival in the Washington National Cathedral for the American Choral Directors Association national convention and in 1998 did the same at the national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Denver. He has presented such events abroad as well as in Asia (July, 1996 in Seoul, Korea) and Europe (August, 1997) in the National Cathedral of Norway, Nidaros Dom, Trondheim, as a part of the celebration of the millennium of the birth of St. Olaf. Although he is a Lutheran, his festivals are ecumenical experiences drawing upon the greatest treasures of Christian song from many centuries, traditions, and styles.
Ferguson is the Elliot and Klara Stockdal Johnson Professor of Organ and Church Music and Cantor to the Student Congregation at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. St. Olaf's great choral tradition began with F. Meluis Christiansen and has influenced many generations of fine church musicians. Christiansen's lifelong interest in hymns is evidenced by the many hymns included in his choral compositions as well as his contributions to hymnals of his day. Ferguson's creative hymn arrangements continue this tradition with a renewed emphasis upon congregational participation.
A native of Cleveland, Ferguson's degrees are from Oberlin College, Kent State University and the Eastman School of Music. He is respected as a fine teacher and performer and his unique skill as improviser and leader of congregational song has won national acclaim. When someone attends one of his festivals, the experience is never dull. With Ferguson at the organ and the creative use of instrumental and choral sound, the assembly is enveloped and whisked away into an experience of song that will never again happen in just that way.
Internationally known for his innovative and inspiring hymn festivals and for his creative work with children, Michael Burkhardt is in frequent demand as a choral clinician, organ recitalist, and hymn festival leader.
Dr. Burkhardt serves Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Livonia, as Cantor, and Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, as Artist-Professor of Organ. In addition, he is the Artistic Director of the Detroit Handbell Ensemble and hearts, hands and voices, a worship and fine arts program for children, Grades 2-7.
He has performed and led seminars at both national and regional events for the American Guild of Organists, the Hymn Society, the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, and the American Choral Directors Association. Since 2003 has made six performance-teaching tours to South Korea and Singapore.
Dr. Burkhardt is author of three education resources: Part-Singing Global Style (a resource focusing on sequential part-singing techniques in treble arrangements of global pieces), Singing with Understanding (a curriculum utilizing the great hymns, folksongs and spirituals of the Church to share faith stories and to teach the elements of music and worship) and Read ‘n Ring (a handbell resource for teaching music literacy to ringers of all ages). In addition, he is composer of three settings of the Eucharistic liturgy, A New Song, Missa St. Andrew, and Missa Mixolydian, as well as numerous organ improvisations, choral octavos and handbell compositions, available through MorningStar Music Publishers, Augsburg Fortress, Choristers Guild, Concordia Publishing House, AGEHR, and GIA.
Michael J. Glasgow is originally from Michigan. He holds B.A. degrees in music theory/composition, and in journalism; as well as a Master of Church Music degree from Concordia University Wisconsin as a rare double-emphasis student, in both choral and handbell music. In 2017, he made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting his Requiem for choir and orchestra, on his 40th birthday.
In addition to his full-time position as the Minister of Music at North Raleigh UMC (Raleigh, NC), Michael serves as the Bass Section Leader for the North Carolina Master Chorale and the Choral Conductor for the Tar River Orchestra & Chorus. He is a dynamic, energizing conductor who connects well with people and music, and as such is sought after for conducting engagements throughout the country. Summer 2013 marked his international conducting debut, with the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain Ringing Residency Week in Sheffield, England; a return engagement was booked for 2015, followed by one for 2017. Other international engagements include Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and Austria.
As a composer, Michael keeps busy with commissions and his own projects, and has been honored with numerous composition awards for organ, handbell and choral works. His first published choral piece, Welcome the King (an SATB carol accompanied by solo viola), won the 2009 VocalEssence "Welcome Christmas" composition contest. In 2013, Michael was commissioned by Malmark Bellcraftsmen to compose the Concerto for Cymbells, a multi-movement symphonic work featuring a virtuosic part for a solo percussionist on the Cymbells instrument.
Michael is proud to be an integral part in the development of new handbell events, having served as inaugural conductor for the annual Anthornis events for advanced ringers in Minneapolis, and its counterpart, Anthornis North in Fargo. He is a member of ASCAP, American Composers Forum, Mensa, FUMMWA and several other professional organizations. Additional information and samples of Michael’s work may be found at www.michaeljglasgow.com and on Twitter: @MichaelJGlasgow.
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