About the Program

About the CLEF Summer Program

Save the dates for our 2024 CLEF Summer Program: July 14-19, 2024, in Milford, Ohio.
Sign up for our email list to be the first to know when registration opens.

Designed specifically for ensemble musicians

The CLEF Summer Program is a unique opportunity for education, skill building, prayer, reflection, and community connection specifically designed for ensemble musicians. If you are an ensemble musician — whether a director, singer, guitarist, pianist, percussionist, or you play a wind or string instrument — you are welcome at the CLEF Summer Program! We also welcome clergy and liturgists to join us for a week of music, reflection, and community.

Connect with liturgical ensemble musicians

Connect with liturgical ensemble musicians

When ensemble musicians of all skill levels from both large and small church communities gather together, there’s much to learn from your fellow participants.

Learn from highly skilled faculty members

Learn from highly skilled faculty members

Our faculty is passionate about teaching ensemble musicians. They have extensive experience as directors, singers, and instrumentalists in a variety of ensembles.

Renew your spirit with prayer and community

Renew your spirit with prayer and community

The CLEF Summer Program includes many opportunities for prayer, rest, and community connection for participants in both the ensemble track and the retreat track.  

What past attendees say

Each summer, ensemble musicians from across the United States gather in Ohio for a week of music, reflection, and community at the CLEF Summer Program. 

clef faculty

About our faculty

Our faculty members have extensive experience working with ensemble groups in church communities across the country. They are highly skilled musicians, ensemble directors, and liturgists who believe strongly in the role of ensemble music in liturgy and are passionate about helping ensemble members improve their skills to lead people to full, conscious, and active participation in liturgy.

About the ensemble track

Our ensemble track is designed for instrumentalists and vocalists to improve their skills within an ensemble setting, all with a focus on helping facilitate full, conscious, and active participation in the liturgy. Participants will work with a shared repertoire of music and rehearse as separate vocal and instrumental groups in some sessions and as a combined ensemble in other sessions.

clef ensemble track
About the retreat track

About the retreat track

Our retreat track is a wonderful opportunity for prayer and reflection for ensemble musicians who are looking for rest and renewal. Retreat sessions are focused on individual reflection and group discussion more so than instrumental or vocal skill building, however, the same music is used in both tracks. Retreat sessions occur at the same time as ensemble sessions, simply in a different location. All retreat track and ensemble track participants join together for all other CLEF activities and meals.

Additional activities

The CLEF Summer Program includes many additional opportunities for learning, reflection, and connection. Some program highlights include large group sessions on topics relevant to ensemble musicians, a faculty concert, participant open mic night, and community social activities. Rob Ellig, master luthier, is available to inspect and perform repairs on guitars and other string instruments for an additional fee.

About the Jesuit Spiritual Center

About the Jesuit Spiritual Center

The CLEF Summer Program takes place on the beautiful grounds of the Jesuit Spiritual Center at Milford in Ohio. Our program uses both the Arrupe building, for those who prefer a quieter evening, and the Loyola building, known for late-night jam sessions. Participants may indicate their housing preference on their registration form. There is some walking required between the two buildings each day, but we have a shuttle available to drive between the buildings for those who need it.

Thinking of joining us in 2024?

Our email subscribers are the first to know when registration opens for the 2024 CLEF Summer Program.

Frequently asked questions

CLEF defines a liturgical ensemble as any group in which two or more musicians are gathered to lead music for liturgy. Ensembles may be solely instrumental, or they may consist of a group of instruments accompanying one or more singers.

Since the early days following the Second Vatican Council, ensembles have played a significant role in fostering full, conscious, and active participation in the liturgy. From the early folk groups to today’s contemporary ensembles or groups with a distinct name, ensembles have become a leading voice in many churches.

To that end, it is our goal to support the ensemble musician, be they an instrumentalist, cantor, or choral singer. Our program provides sessions for instrumentalists and vocalists, as well as a retreat track for those who desire a time of reflection. Each participant also receives a private coaching session with one of the experienced ensemble musicians on our faculty.

We are an inclusive community where all are welcome regardless of gender, race, culture, age, or ability. We welcome musicians of all skill levels, from church communities large and small, urban and rural, whether paid staff or volunteers. 

While there are many educational opportunities for music ministers in more traditional choir and accompanist roles, there have been few programs dedicated to the unique needs of ensemble musicians. CLEF is one of the leading programs exclusively focused on supporting ensemble musicians, and our summer program provides significant opportunity for growth and development for musicians of all skill levels. 

The CLEF Summer Program is a week of prayer, community, and learning. We gather daily for morning and evening prayer, in addition to a Taizé prayer session and celebration of the Eucharist. Participants attend either ensemble sessions (vocal or instrumental) or retreat sessions based on the choices made on their registration form, plus each participant has the opportunity for private coaching and small group sessions on specific topics. There’s practice and free time built into the week, plus a faculty concert and participant open mic concert.

No, you don’t need to be Catholic to attend this program or access our online CLEF Life resources. While our founding board members and faculty primarily serve as ensemble musicians in Catholic church communities, we welcome ensemble musicians from many faith traditions to join us. To quote a popular song from our faith tradition, “All are welcome.”