Jenny Snarski
Catholic Herald Staff

The music committee for the Diocese of Superior will present their 2021 Music Ministry Workshop on Friday, Feb. 4, and Saturday, Feb. 5, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Amery.

Presenters Bonnie Faber and Roger Stratton will touch on the theme, “The Posture of a Servant: Our Response to God’s Grace.”

According to the promotional flyer put out by the Diocese of Superior’s Office of Worship, attendees will be guided toward learning more about the liturgical musician’s role of joyful servant as their part of the worshipping assembly.

This will be accomplished through presentations and group discussion on topics such as the mechanics of singing, practical advice on reading musical scores and the importance of preparation, as well as openness to the Holy Spirit.

Faber shared she is “honored to present this workshop with Roger Stratton, a seasoned and much respected colleague of mine. Put together, we have about 80-90 years of working in the Church!”

She recognized that they experienced much during those years and continue to evolve in their vocations as music ministers in the church.
“Soli Deo Gloria,” she added which translates to “Glory to God alone.”

Just weeks before the back-to-back liturgical season of Lent and Easter, the workshop timing seeks to be a time of learning and renewal before the 90-day stretch.

Friday evening’s schedule includes social time, prayer, a dinner presentation and Q&A discussion. Saturday begins with breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and morning prayer, followed by presentations from 9:30 a.m. until noon. The event concludes at 3:15 p.m.

Bonnie Faber’s music ministry career spans five decades working in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Following her start as a music educator, Faber went on to teach at the University of St. Thomas’ School of Divinity.

She has voice recorded on more than 150 liturgical music albums and travels nationwide to present workshops and cantor clinics.
Currently serving as the music director for the Church of the Nativity in Burnsville, Minnesota, Faber also maintains a music studio at home, where she continues to teach individual students.

Faber’s bio describes her as “energetic, funny, enthusiastic, knowledgeable” and having an “enormous heart of service to Christ.” The mother of two adult children lives in Minneapolis and loves her newest role, grandmother.

Scheduled as the Friday evening presentation, “Joy of Liturgy: Seven Languages of Liturgical Prayer” will be given by Faber.

She shared that this portion of the workshop will “review the aspects of our communal prayer, a dig a bit deeper into their meaning for us as liturgical ministers of that prayer.”

The seven “languages” to be explored are: the Word (Scripture); music; body (referencing the Body of Christ); architecture and icons (the worship space); symbols (such as the bread, water and wine); intercession (praying as a community of memory); and heart (affection and emotion in liturgical song).

“Each aspect of these languages will be discussed and put into perspective as we each contemplate and work at our skills as leaders in prayer, whether it be as a choir director, cantor or choir member,” Faber said. “What is at the heart of all of the liturgy is the assembly of believers. That is, in the action of the assembly of believers. We have the living Word, the living gestures, the living sacrifice, the living meal. It is in this that all ministries in the Church are part of and in service to. This is our response to God’s grace.”

On Saturday, one session will address the area of adaptation with the self-explanatory title, “Adapt, adapt, adapt.” Another will focus on “Movement of the Spirit: Aspiration, Inspiration, Respiration.”

Referring to Ephesians 5:18-20, Faber noted that for this calling, the working of the Holy Spirit acts through all of it.

“Be filled with the Spirit, as you sing Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In her own words, “I call this part – since we are musicians and always concerned about our breath and how it works while singing – respiration, phonation, inspiration.”

Faber looks forward to exploring the theme and working with workshop participants. She wants to spend time considering and contemplating together, as well as dedicate time to practical aspects and building skills and being available to answer attendees’ questions.

Stratton, currently the music director of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Minnetonka, Minnesota, has previously served churches throughout the state and in Illinois, Ohio and Massachuesetts.

In his bio it states, “He enjoys stretching the boundaries of sacred music with innovative concerts and prayer services – diving into different musical traditions with special emphases on world music and jazz.”

Educated at Oberline College and the New England Conservatory, Stratton also leads the World Music quintent, Ensemble Aventura.

He has more than 30 years of experience leading church choirs and has an extensive repertoire of published liturgical and choral compositions.

Stratton lives in Maplewood, Minnesota, with wife, two sons and their pets.

The February music ministry workshop will be presented in person only at St. Joseph’s Church in Amery. For more information, including the flyer and registration form, visit

Bonnie Faber

Roger Stratton