General Track

Songwriting “Demo” Derby

Stephen Lewis, Ali Matthews & James Linderman

Back by popular demand, delegates will have the opportunity to either perform live or play a CD of an original composition and benefit from the panellists’ experience and knowledge of the craft of song writing. Our guest panel consists of 3 of the most experienced Christian songwriters in Canada today: James Linderman, Stephen Lewis and Ali Matthews. Their comments will be constructive and administered in a helpful and gentle manner. The Demo Derby is a very fun and extremely uplifting highlight at PowerUP each year and always provides tremendous encouragement and guidance to song writing delegates. Please feel free to join us regardless of whether you are just starting out or are a more experienced songwriter.
You will learn how to specifically improve the song that you present, but also learn from the songs presented by others. You will also gain insight into the editing process and how to take your writing to another level! (You may even be chosen to sing at the PowerUP Showcase on Saturday afternoon!). Bring a song that you can sing, either with or without accompaniment, or provide a CD recording of that song (make certain that the recording plays on a CD player and not just on a computer). Please bring 3 typed copies of your lyrics. As soon as you arrive at the Derby, sign up at the panellists’ table for the opportunity to present your song.

PowerUP Mass Choir Rehearsals

Karen Burke

All registrants are invited to learn exciting gospel songs in a mass choir setting accompanied by a live rhythm section. All of the songs learned in our rehearsals will be performed in our exciting finale concert on Sunday night! Bring your family and friends to Bayview Glen Church, 300 Steeles Avenue East in Markham (Steeles Avenue/Bayview Road) to witness what you were up to all weekend!

What Every Choir Conductor Needs To Know

Karen Burke
Based on over 30 years of conducting choirs, Karen Burke will impart wisdom and answer questions about the very real issues that all who lead school, church or community choirs face every day. If conducting was all we needed to know…not! Topics such as choosing the right repertoire, how to run a successful rehearsal, how to choose soloists, to audition or not to audition?–these are just some of the challenges that choir directors face. Let’s talk! Come and bring your questions!

PowerUP Youth Choir

Colette Leader-Kalumbi

If you love singin’ and groovin’ to the latest gospel hits, you will want to be a part of the PowerUP Youth Choir! Designed for young people from ages 12 to 21, this exciting session involves marrying great gospel lyrics to energetic hip choreographed moves done only as young people can do, accompanied by a live rhythm section! If you have ever wanted to be part of a Gospel Youth Choir and want to ‘kick it up a notch’, this session is for you. (Please note Youth Choir participants will NOT be able to participate in the large mass choir rehearsals or sing with the larger Mass Choir.)

PowerUP Small Vocal Ensemble

Darren Hamilton

Are you looking for an opportunity to improve your vocal performance skills within a small group setting? If you answered yes, then the Power Up Small Vocal Ensemble is for you! This ensemble will meet multiple times during the conference. Rehearsals will address topics such as blending, diction, articulation, vocal styling and group interaction while learning repertoire to be performed at the Power Up Showcase and Finale Concert. It is recommended that participants have some previous vocal ensemble experience. A short survey is required with registration for this ensemble.
Key Elements:

  • How to blend effectively when singing in a group
  • How to effectively apply diction and articulation to clearly communicate the lyrics of a song
  • Understanding stylistic characteristics to appropriately perform repertoire
  • Possible opportunities to performance solos or duets (depending on selected repertoire)

NOTE: Participants must register and attend ALL THREE rehearsals (Parts 1, 2 and 3) for the Power Up Vocal Ensemble which are scheduled on Friday morning, Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. Register early as this workshop is accepting a limited number of participants.



Gregory Hines

Learn how to dance hip-hop like an artist! Back by popular demand, this 75 min workshop is a beginner hip-hop class for those with little to no experience in dancing hip-hop. It is designed for people of all ages and will have you popping, locking and ‘swaggin’ it out, making you look like a pro in no time.


Gregory Hines

These two back-to-back 75 min. workshops are for dancers of all ages with some dance experience. They will challenge the dancer, focusing on pushing the boundaries and their stamina. You will sweat and will love every minute of this unique workshop that grooves to Christian hip-hop music.

Theory 101: Back to the Basics!

Darren Hamilton

Have you ever played something on your instrument and wondered, “what chord was that?” or “why does this ‘work’ musically?” Do you struggle to communicate your musical ideas to other musicians or vocalists that you work with? This new workshop is designed to meet the needs of vocalists and musicians who desire to learn more about the language of music. We will explore the following foundations of music theory: notation, major scales, intervals, diatonic chords, chord progressions and chord inversions. Understanding these concepts will help you to become more effective no matter what your role in music is. This session is highly recommended for anyone planning to the take the Intermediate, Senior and/or Advanced keyboard workshops at this year’s conference.

Replacing the Jitters with the Joy – Fearless Preparation for Flawless Performance

James Linderman

In sports they say that games are won and lost before the teams even step onto the field. It’s all in the preparation.

So, more than only being about stage fright, this workshop will walk delegates through the 5 major elements they will need to properly prepare for the presentation of a musical work. Whether it is singing or playing an instrument in a group or solo, preparation of all 5 elements is one of the key features that will lead to fearless presentation.

This workshop will include a presentation of the steps for curing all performance anxieties related to presenting music, including stage fright so it can become a joy to display the musical gifts and talents God has placed in your care.

There will be opportunities for delegates to participate, and the theories and the practice of proper preparation will be tied to concepts related to faith.

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Vocal Track


Jenna Cowans

Would you like to learn how to perfect your solo performance skills? Singer-songwriter and educator, Jenna Cowans (Burke) will work with singers to build more confidence and communicate strong messages with their solo voice. Whether for special music at church or other public functions, this is the class for the singer with a performer’s heart. In a safe and encouraging environment, participants will be invited to choose from three familiar songs and be coached in a master-class setting accompanied by a keyboard musician.


Patrick Timney
This workshop will focus specifically on how effective vocal tone is achieved and maintained. In the midst of striving to master and properly balance all of the technical aspects of healthy vocal production, singers often overlook the importance of a stable and consistent vocal placement. This practical clinic will dig deep into the physical and mental combinations that must be in full alignment with one another, so the singer can be capable of successfully operating at the maximum quality of his/her vocal tone. You are invited to come and join us as we take this interesting journey together. Please bring a recording device (smart phone, digital voice recorder, etc.) and come ready to sing!!


Nicole Sinclair-Anderson

A singer has countless ways in which they can “colour” a song with nuance and stylistic interpretation. This session breaks down some of the mysteries of the current Vocal Styles and provides practical tools that will allow you to express your songs with relevance and authenticity.
Presented in a master class setting and using familiar songs, this workshop will greatly benefit anyone who wants to expand and improve the ways to deliver a song effectively.


Dr. Melissa Davis

Have you ever felt frustrated with your singing? This workshop is for you! Through demonstrations, exercises and songs, this workshop will target and tackle common vocal issues and will provide workshop attendees with practical solutions to set you on the path to vocal confidence!


Rob Greene

We will explore the mechanics of the voice, while learning proper breathing, posture, warm-ups, and cool downs, and singing techniques; all of which will help us to achieve vocal success. Tips such as vocal health and maintaining good vocal habits will be discussed. Come ready to sing!


Rob Greene

An extension of Part 1, this session will go further and discuss additional creative vocal elements. We will talk about improvisation, explore innovative singing techniques and learn about using proper diction, expression and more! Come prepared to be creative. Participants will have fun singing up a storm.


Rob Greene

This workshop will be an informative, fun, and interactive session for non-choir singers, those who desire to sing in a choir, or who are currently a choir member. We will be exploring what it means to be a choir/ensemble member (including responsibilities and tips to help you win a “Best Choir Member award”) and become more familiar with the musical lingo! You’ve never sung in a choir before? No problem! We will be learning to sing as “one”, learn a song from scratch, and build it into an expressive and dynamic song. If you love to sing, possess a desire to sing expressively in a group, and love to have fun, this session is for you!


Stephen Lewis

There are 3 very easy steps to harmonizing: Hearing it, understanding it, and singing it. This workshop will help you to understand what you are hearing when you’re listening to vocals and what to focus on when you do. We will also break down 2 and 3 part harmonies to help you to more clearly understand the standard fundamentals of harmony.


Stephen Lewis

Building on the concepts learned in Part 1, we will take harmonizing to another level! Learn how to understand more complex harmonies and to utilize them while singing in groups. Together, we will dig a little deeper and also perform for each other song arrangements assigned in class. Singing harmony together is the best way to improve!


Cassandra Powell

This fun and interactive workshop will provide tips on how to get the most out of your song and how to incorporate ad-libs and ‘flavor’ with or without background vocalists. Discover how to approach a song as a soloist versus singing in a group setting. You will come away with a wealth of tips on how to develop healthy vocals using effective vocal exercises, warm-ups and techniques to prepare your voice. A practical group assignment will be included to practice what has been shared. Whether you are a seasoned vocalist or just love singing and want to improve, you will definitely enjoy ‘Singing Together’!

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Instrumental Track


Dr. Karen Cyrus

This is a workshop for persons who do not play the piano/keyboard. Participants will explore basic functional piano skills related to playing hymns and simple gospel songs. Basic skills that will be covered in this 90-minute workshop include interpreting chord symbols on song sheets, playing chords, basic improvisation, hand position and memorization. Participants will be able to use these skills to perform simple accompaniments. Please bring along a set of headphones!


Natalie Stewart

Have you ever wanted to learn to ‘play by ear’? Join this exciting session and have the ‘mystery’ taken away from this helpful skill, using the electronic keyboards provided. You will learn how to manipulate chords on scale degrees and create simple chord progressions by combining theory with intermediate-level keyboarding skills. By the end of this workshop you will be able to follow and flow in easy contemporary worship sets and gospel tunes using applicable and transferrable ear training techniques. Participants with some basic keyboard knowledge will get the most out of this session. Please bring along a set of headphones! Participants with minimal or no music theory background are highly recommended to take Theory 101: Back to the Basics! in addition to selecting this workshop.


Joy Brown

This workshop is for pianists/keyboardists who have the facility to play but want to take it to the next level. Fun techniques for hand strengthening, coordination and feeling comfortable with your instrument will be emphasized. Participants will be able to demonstrate more complex chord progressions including chord substitutions, tritones and secondary dominants. At the end of the session, you should be able to take a simple song and enhance the harmonic structure. Please bring along a set of headphones and a pair of mittens. Mittens, you say? YES!!!! (Not gloves). Participants with minimal or no music theory background are highly recommended to take Theory 101: Back to the Basics! in addition to selecting this workshop.


Corey Butler

Learn, from one of the best, the harmonizations and techniques that make a gospel song sound, well…gospel! In this module, participants will learn how ALL secondary and complex chords i.e. minor 7th’s, 9th’s, 13th#11th’s, flat 9, diminished chords etc, are derived from the basic primary chords: I, IV and V. You’ll enjoy exploring and understanding chord structures and secondary dominants, as used in gospel music. Participants with minimal or no music theory background are highly recommended to take Theory 101: Back to the Basics! in addition to selecting this workshop.


Corey Butler

In Part 2, we’ll put into practice what was learned in Part I, by applying the harmonizations and techniques that facilitate the “gospel sound” and explore this using the common progression I, VI, II, V, III, VI, II, V. We’ll also apply these concepts in a traditional African American gospel song, To God Be the Glory and a Christian Contemporary gospel song, Good Good Father. Participants with minimal or no music theory background are highly recommended to take Theory 101: Back to the Basics! in addition to selecting this workshop.


Joy Brown

Bach? J.S Bach, you say? That’s right! Mr. Bach was working the cool ‘chord’ harmonies of Jazz way back in the 17th century. His music has influenced many historical and contemporary musicians, including the Beatles! So if you want to know about jazz harmonies, chord progressions, chord/key relationships, secondary dominants and IMPROV, this course is for you. If you want to know WHY you should know this—-this course is definitely for you! All you need is a pencil, a set of eyes and a pair of ears. See you there!


Josette Leader

This workshop serves as an experiential introduction to the world of steelpan and geared more for youth. Have you ever seen someone performing on the steelpan and thought, “That looks like a lot of fun”? Well, you’re right! Not only do steelpans sound captivating, but they are also a blast to play. Participants will learn the history of these beautiful instruments, the types and roles of each, as well as its relevance in modern day context. Participants will also be taught proper playing techniques and will be given the chance to test out their skills by coming together as a steelband and playing a tune. Whether you’re a steelpan novice or a steelpan enthusiast, this workshop has something for you. There is no equipment needed, just come ready to have a pantastic time!


James Linderman

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced player, this workshop will help you to connect your singing with an ability to play the guitar. In this master class setting, find out how to find a good selection of available guitar chords for a melody and string those chord choices together into a chord progression. Gain the tools to further your ability to play guitar and sing with the best possible relationship between your voice and your instrument. See examples, from the charts provided, being brought to life in a leader-driven spontaneous improvised atmosphere.


Rob ‘Beatdown’ Brown

This year’s sessions are an ‘open forum’ type format, designed for students to come with their questions right from the start. Registrants are encouraged to come with anything they’ve been having trouble executing or understanding on the drums and the plan is to discuss, clearly explain and/or demonstrate solutions on the kit. Students who need clarification on a certain technique or musical ideas or just the general business of drumming professionally will benefit from Rob’s 25+ years of experience on the instrument. A cool hang out for drummers of all levels!


Tim Ball

Bass is the foundation of the gospel sound. What happens on bass guitar not only helps to drive the harmonic progressions, but also locks in with the drums to confirm and support the rhythm. If you are a beginning bass player eager to grab hold of the gospel music style, sign up for this very unique workshop session. There is limited space, so register early. Bring your own bass guitar…bass amps are available!


Tim Ball

If you already have some skill on bass guitar, but would like to expand your abilities of expression and implement some new skills, this course is for you. We will be threshing through techniques such as slapping, muting, and 4 fingered plucking, and examining where they can be useful in a gospel/worship setting. Come with your own bass and an open mind!

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Church Musician Track


Cassandra Powell

The job of a worship leader is to lead! This means having a plan for a live music setting i.e. a worship service or concert and taking the audience along on a journey that leads to corporate praise! In this exciting session offered by Cassandra Powell, topics will include prepping a song list, running a rehearsal, leading from an instrument, and learning to speak ‘musician’. Choosing appropriate keys, tips on what to do between songs (including ad-libs) and exploring the elements of effective stage presence will also be covered. There will also be a brief look at various helpful websites and software resources.

Start Your Morning With Worship

Pastor Richard Brown

Psalm 143:8 captures it best:

Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love,
For in You I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
For to You I lift up my soul.

Two things make up everyone’s day: receptivity and productivity. We constantly take in and put out. We absorb and exude.

The best path to a productive day is to absorb the presence of God through worship. When we start our day conscience of God’s presence we are literally saying to the Lord, “Good morning, Lord! I don’t know where You are going today, but wherever You’re going, I’m comin’ with You!”

“Start Your Morning With Worship” is a practical worship teaching experience focused on principles and tips to help you practice the presence of God through songs of praise and worship. This class is for everyone who wants to enrich their worship encounters. We look at ways to enhance, stir and release a creative spirit of worship every time we come into His presence.

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