About

Sarah Bereza, PhD, is a musicologist and church musician. She has ministered for nearly 20 years in all the major mainline Protestant denominations as well as some evangelical and Catholic churches. She grew up independent Baptist (and earned a bachelor’s degree at Bob Jones University), then joined the Eastern Orthodox Church as a young adult. She has researched sacred music while earning a master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and master’s and PhD degrees at Duke University.

Sarah currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the interim organist at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer (Cincinnati, Ohio), and organist/cantor at a small Catholic parish.

Read more about her research on music in fundamentalist Christianity here.

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How to Host a Lenten Hymn Sing

How to Host a Lenten Hymn Sing

Last week, I posted a 3 steps to hosting an easy hymn sing and talked about it on the podcast. This week, I have a template for a “Journey to the Cross” with 60 hymns to choose from, so you can have a cohesive hymn sing focused on the Cross.

The hymn sing’s theme is “Journey..

Posted by sarah.bereza in Church Music Administration, Congregational Singing, 0 comments
Ep. 11: Musical Training for Priests and Other Topics in Orthodox Church Music, with Harrison Russin

Ep. 11: Musical Training for Priests and Other Topics in Orthodox Church Music, with Harrison Russin

Try This at Church: Use timbre to change your liturgical colors. Picking up on last week’s episode about using music to set Lent apart as a special season of the year, Stephen writes that he changes his musical “liturgical color” during Lent.

Interview: We discuss the musical..

Posted by sarah.bereza in Choral Music, History of Church Music, Instrumental Music, Podcast, 0 comments
3 Steps to an Easy Hymn Sing

3 Steps to an Easy Hymn Sing

Hymn sings can be grand affairs, with special anthems combining choir with congregation, extra instrumentalists to plan for and rehearse, and scripture readings to coordinate with the hymns’ themes.

But a hymn sing can also be very easy to plan and host.

Here’s the 3 basic..

Posted by sarah.bereza in Congregational Singing, 0 comments
Bonus Episode: The Hillsong Movement Examined, Part 2

Bonus Episode: The Hillsong Movement Examined, Part 2

In this bonus episode of Music and the Church, Dr. Tanya Riches continues discussing The Hillsong Movement Examined: You Call Me Out Upon the Waters, a new collection of essays that she and Dr. Tom Wagner co-edited.

Earlier in Episode 8, Tanya talked about Hillsong’s music, how women lead..

Posted by sarah.bereza in Contemporary Worship, Music and Theology, Podcast, 0 comments
Ep. 9: 11 Essentials for a Choir Rehearsal Space

Ep. 9: 11 Essentials for a Choir Rehearsal Space

In the field: Choir rooms need a lot more than chairs and a piano to function well for musicians—they need storage for anthems, places for information (like a white board), and most important of all: a flat surface for cookies. Listen for 11 choir rehearsal space essentials, plus two bonus ideas.

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Posted by sarah.bereza in Choral Music, Church Music Administration, Podcast, 0 comments
Writing Process: Book Progress

Writing Process: Book Progress

Since the summer, I’ve had a book outline up on the wall in my son’s bedroom. Little snips of index cards, stuck to the wall with blue painter’s tape.

I often think about this book project (it’s one of two I’m working on—this one is based in my doctoral research..

Posted by sarah.bereza in Music in Fundamentalist Christianity, Writing, 0 comments
Ep. 8: The Hillsong Movement Examined, with Tanya Riches

Ep. 8: The Hillsong Movement Examined, with Tanya Riches

Try This At Church: We follow up on last week’s suggestion to play from a binder of an entire service’s music (instead of swapping out books throughout a service). Kathy suggests making copies of hymn harmonizations and organizing them alphabetically in binders, so you can see your entire collection..

Posted by sarah.bereza in Contemporary Worship, Music and Theology, Podcast
Ep. 7: Social Media for Church Musicians, with David Sinden

Ep. 7: Social Media for Church Musicians, with David Sinden

Try This at Church: For trickier services, make copies of all music and play from a single binder instead of shuffling books.

Interview: Today’s interview is with David Sinden, the Organist & Director of Music at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and co-host..

Posted by sarah.bereza in Church Music Administration, Podcast