Reflections from High on the Holy Mountain, Sewanee Tennessee

Last week I had the unique opportunity to attend The 67th Sewanee Church Music Conference at The University of the South Seminary in Sewanee, Tennessee. What an awesome experience! I hope I can give you a taste of my time there through this blog today.

I arrived in Knoxville during a crazy thunderstorm and Holy Comforter’s good friend, Fr. Rod Moore was there to greet me. He hasn’t changed a bit and it was so good to have time to reconnect with him. He was a great tour guide pointing out this and that to me as we drove through the city to he and Mary’s new home. He is proud of his yard – lots of new plants he is experimenting with since his gardening experience is Nebraska and Colorado. It is lovely and I enjoyed the different vegetation, lightning bugs and HUMIDITY – that part wasn’t so great!

Sunday we attended St. James Episcopal Church, more touring and then a great dinner at their favorite restaurant on the Tennessee River, Calhoun’s. Fried green tomatoes, bbq, biscuits and more, everything you’d expect in the south.

Monday we hit the highway for our drive to Sewanee. Tennessee is green, wooded and lovely – but HUMID! The campus is quite large and I still don’t feel like I saw that much of it as so many buildings are tucked back away from the street in the woods. The buildings are old, lovely and I felt like I was in a great southern novel like Gone With the Wind! Orientation, dinner and evensong rounded out our evening.

Walking was a big part of my days. From the dorm to the dining hall is ¾ mile. So my feet put on many miles but it felt good unless it was really HUMID – which was most of the time! There were some golf carts running around the campus and many times you could catch a ride to your destination. I took advantage of those carts whenever I could.

I had the joy of experiencing many new hymns and service music. I am excited to share of those with you this fall. Much of our time during the conference was spent in rehearsal. Singing with the attendees will go down in my life as a great musical experience. Our conference clinicians were Peter Conte and Todd Wilson, two great organist/choir masters. Their insights and inspiration will stick with me for many years. I hope I can pass on some of that knowledge to our choirs – so inspiring!

Each day we experienced a different form of liturgy – Choral Evensong, Mass for the Dead, Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Compline and of course a Rite II Choral Eucharist. Mostly these took place in The Chapel of the Apostles which is on the Seminary Campus. Larger services and concerts we attended were in All Saints Chapel – well I would say Cathedral!

Our clergy guest for the week was Barbara Crawford Crafton. Mother Barbara managed each day to preach on our death and growth for the future in a way that each day the message built upon it self….tears by the time our week was over. So moving for all.

So, other than the HUMIDITY, it was an amazing, spiritually fulfilling week. Below are some photos and links to some incredible sights and sounds from Sewanee! I hope you will hear some of this soon at HC!

Mary McIntire

O Sweetest Source