One of the 2018 youth instrumental ensembles.

One of the 2018 youth instrumental ensembles.


Program for Youth

There are lots of reasons why we serve as musicians in our parishes or school communities: it’s fun, it’s a way to use our musical talents, it’s a way to give back, it’s a way to be involved, etc. No matter the reasons why you serve, one thing is certain; you have been called. You have been called to use your gifts of music and leadership to serve God, the Church, and your community through the ministry of sung prayer.

Participants in the Youth Track experience a curriculum designed to nurture and sustain the skills, knowledge, and leadership that effective music ministry requires. By working with master teachers and musicians, participants study liturgy, spirituality, and musicianship.

The core components of the Youth Track curriculum are described below. All participants experience these components. In addition, we are pleased to offer a Composer Experience for aspiring composers and an opportunity for leadership during the week as a Peer Minister.


Other useful information:

Participants for the youth track are students in high school or the first few years of college. Our youngest students are entering their 10th grade year of high school; our oldest students are entering their second year of college.


Sample daily schedule:

Youth Schedule.png

Liturgical formation 

Liturgical formation sessions provide an opportunity for participants of both the Advocate and Youth Tracks to learn together. Each session breaks open and explores a key component necessary to our understanding of the liturgical life of the church. The topics offered change each year. Topics offered in the past include “The Foundations of Ritual Music,” “The Three Judgements: Pastoral, Musical, Liturgical,” “Holistic Approaches to Liturgy Planning,” and “Understanding Models of the Church.”

Break-out sessions

Break-out sessions provide participants a chance to focus on an area of music ministry specific to them. The topics offered change each year. Topics offered in the past include include “Cantoring 101,” “Arranging for the Instrumental Ensemble,” “Music Leadership,” and more. Participants choose their sessions, and sessions are offered in rotation so that participants can attend the topics they find most important. 

Ensemble/sectional meetings

Ensemble/Sectional Meetings are when some of the most intense formation occurs. Participants are placed in a vocal section or an instrumental ensemble, based on application information and participant recordings. In these meetings, students learn to sing and play together as a cohesive unit. Studying with a team member who is both master musician and master teacher, these sections and ensembles work on a slate of music that builds and challenges their abilities. 


Rehearsals are the institute “lab sessions.” All participants spend time with our team conductors working through the music chosen for the end-of-week concert. In addition to perfecting the music, participants and conductors break apart the meaning of each song, reflecting on the Scriptural and liturgical basis in a way that isn’t performing but praying. Participants experience working with multiple conductors, learn effective rehearsal techniques, apply what they have learned in break-outs and sectional/ensemble meetings, and master a wide repertoire of liturgical music. 

spiritual formation

Spiritual formation programming offers participants of the Advocate and Youth Tracks and team members opportunities to examine their own spiritual life. Each session includes a conference, given by a different presenter, that explores an aspect of spirituality. Following the conference, participants continue to discuss and explore in small peer groups. 

For more information about serving as a peer minister, visit the “Peer Ministry Program” page.


Prayer is of central importance to our time together. All participants and team members gather for Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer each day. Our week ends with Mass on Sunday morning. All liturgies are led by participants. In addition to the prayer schedule for the institute, participants have opportunities for additional prayer experiences on campus (i.e. monastic liturgy of the hours, daily Mass, rosary, etc.). 

recreation and private Lessons

In addition to learning sessions, participants have an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful campus of Saint John's Abbey and University. Spend time at the beach, the climbing wall, or the challenge course. Or, discover The Saint John's Bible, visit The Saint John's Pottery studio, explore the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, pray with the monastic community, or adventure through the 2700-acres of woods and lakes, and more!

During this time, participants are also given an opportunity for private lessons. These lessons give participants the chance to work and grow in an intensive way. Lessons are offered by members of the One Call team and by music department faculty from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University. 

Interest form

Please complete and submit the form below if you are interested in receiving more information about the One Call summer institute. (Note: this form is not an application.)

Name *
Please select the program(s) you are interested in: *
Please enter the name and location (city and state) of the parish, school, or community where you are active in ministry.