Planning the 26th Moravian Music Festival


Every four years, the Moravian Music Foundation brings together musicians, composers, vocalists and music enthusiasts for a week of learning, concerts and, of course, singing and playing. But with the uncertainty of the COVID pandemic, the Music Foundation is taking a different tack for its 2021 Festival. Erik Salzwedel, business manager for the MMF, shares this:

Next summer, we will gather to share and learn about Moravian music, without the limits of time and place.

The Festival Planning Committee and Moravian Music Foundation staff are working to re-imagine a Festival in July, 2021 with a wealth of online content and connectivity, both live-streamed and pre-recorded, including concerts, rehearsals, workshops, lectures, lessons, master classes, social events, round tables, collaborations and much more, with special content and activities for youth and children!

Since we will not have the usual opportunities for in-person concerts and recitals the 2021 Festival will be more focused on learning and sharing.

In July of 2021, we will join our voices and instruments in music and worship, remotely, along with Moravian and non-Moravian sisters and brothers of all ages, musicians and music-lovers from across the continent and around the world, as we share our love of the Savior, joy of music, along with enhanced learning and the hard work of preparation, in a wide variety of online and live experiences.

Then in July of 2022, the Festival Committee is optimistically making plans to then convene a shorter in-person Festival in Bethlehem, Pa., for live performances of some of the music learned the previous summer. More details to come.

Watch for Festival updates and registration information.


More about the Festival

The purpose of a Moravian Music Festival is to provide opportunities—both in-person and online—to learn about and enjoy the Moravian musical heritage while obtaining the guidance needed to better interpret this music; and to foster the development of music and worship leadership skills through seminars, workshops, and participation in choral and instrumental groups with the goal of enriching the life of local congregations. The Festival is a ministry of the Moravian Church, meeting the spiritual and fellowship needs of its members; and is a forum for the discussion of current research on Moravian music. It is a vehicle for sharing the rich musical heritage and culture of Moravian communities with the music world at large.

Normally, we would convene in Bethlehem in 2021, however, due to the pandemic, singing and playing instruments and congregating in closed quarters has been determined to carry certain risks.

Instead, you will be able to enjoy an enhanced Festival online, with digital content, remote connectivity and a variety of recorded and livestreamed music.

Digital music experiences will allow for more equitable access to more activities than ever before! With the 26th Festival not in one fixed location, the opportunities to participate will be less expensive; requiring no travel, meal or housing arrangements. An online format will no longer be limited to those in one location, but be available to the worldwide community.

Most of the activities and events will be scheduled during the week of July 18 – 24, 2021. But, there will be links and opportunities, rehearsals, classes, programs, etc. scheduled prior to Festival week. As well, most of the content will be available to view well after the Festival week.

Festival Seminars and Workshops are designed to broaden the knowledge and appreciation of Moravian music. A variety of topics provide historical background as well as useful “how to” techniques to improve one’s musical abilities.

A local arrangements committee, ably chaired by Hank Naisby, is working diligently to make sure that every aspect of your Festival experience is exceptional! Music leaders, John Sinclair (chorus) and Allen Frank (band) are involved in all the planning and are contributing their guidance to ensure a musically enriching experience for participants and audiences.

We encourage each congregation to consider providing continuing education support for pastors and church musicians to attend Festivals. Further information and registration forms will be available by the end of 2020, and be sure to check our website frequently for updates.

Registration information is forthcoming. Participants in choral and band programs, other ensembles, workshops, and the children and youth programs will be asked to register. Concerts and services will be free and accessible by the general public.