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About the Program

Experience the CLEF Summer Program

Join us July 14-19, 2024, in Milford, Ohio.

Flying to Cincinnati? We offer a transportation from CVG airport to the JSC.

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, including morning and evening prayer each day.

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 experience

Our ensemble sessions for instrumentalists and vocalists are designed to improve 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

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, clinic day where participants can choose from multiple sessions in each time slot, a faculty concert, participant open mic night, evening jam sessions, 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

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.

About the Jesuit Spiritual Center

Register now for the 2024 CLEF Summer Program

We hope to see you in Milford, Ohio on July 14 for an incredible week of music, prayer, and community.

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 to work in separate groups and as a combined ensemble. 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 music, prayer, community, and learning. We gather daily for morning and evening prayer, plus offer both a Taizé prayer session and celebration of the Eucharist during the week. Participants attend assigned vocal or instrumental ensemble 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. Our mid-week Clinic Day offers a variety of breakout sessions in each time slot so participants can choose topics that are most relevant to their music ministry.  There’s practice and free time built into the week, plus a faculty concert and participant open mic concert.

Many of our participants drive from near or far because they want to bring multiple instruments for the week. If you’re driving, the Jesuit Spiritual Center is located at 5361 S Milford Rd, Milford, OH 45150. Plug that into your GPS and you should be able to find us! 

For participants who wish to fly to Ohio, we offer courtesy vehicles (one way or round trip) from Cincinnati/Kentucky Regional Airport (airport code CVG) for a small fee. The total travel time is about 45 minutes from the airport to the retreat center, and you’ll be grouped with other participants arriving by plane. Select the airport shuttle option when you register, and our team will get in touch with you for flight details, estimated shuttle pickup and departure times, and contact information in case of flight delays. We’ll make sure you get from the airport to the Jesuit Spiritual Center and back to the airport! 

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’ve had multiple ensemble musicians from other faith traditions join us at the CLEF Summer Program. To quote a popular song from our faith tradition, “All are welcome.”