Unfortunately, our Women Cantors’ Network Conference
has been postponed to 2021.  Please stay tuned for details.

“Filling the Empty Chair:  Strength & Blessing in Community”

Women Cantors Logo


Conferences are the highlight of our year. They help us come together as a community of cantors, singers, spiritual leaders, teachers and friends. As we have grown over the years since 1982, our conferences have evolved into a multi day experience of prayer, learning, song and spirit. Our tefillot are moving and meaningful, and our workshops, led by peers, mentors and nationally recognized experts, enrich our cantorate and help us grow and evolve.

Our 2020 Conference theme, Filling the Empty Chair: Strength and Blessing in Community, is a reference to the Oklahoma City Memorial, a park adjacent to the site of the Murrah Federal Building, that is designed with 168 empty chairs representing those who died in the bombing 25 years ago. That moment redefined Oklahoma City, pulling together its many faiths and cultures and sowing the seeds of understanding that continue to strengthen our connection to each other. For more information about the Memorial, click here 

Co-chairs: Linda Matorin Sweenie and Debby Lewis
Conference Committee:Ilana Axel, Diane Weil, Sally Heckelman, Gail Nalven, Sharon Hordes

2021Presenters TBD

Registration fees do not cover lodging.  Please make your lodging reservation separately from our registration process.

Lodging will be the Hilton Garden Inn OKC/Midtown, conveniently located 1.2 miles from Temple B’nai Israel, at 2809 NW Expressway, Oklahoma City, OK.

There are Standard King, Standard Double and King Suites with pullout couch, all at the same rate of $119/night, including breakfast. Rate is guaranteed if booked by May 22, 2020.

Please book your room for Monday, June 15 — Thursday, June 18 (Sunday, June 14 is for members of the WCN Board.)


: https://secure3.hilton.com/en_US/gi/reservation/book.htm?inputModule=HOTEL&ctyhocn=OKCMDGI&spec_plan=WCN&arrival=20200614&departure=20200618&cid=OM,WW,HILTONLINK,EN,DirectLink&fromId=HILTONLINKDIRECT

Here are some things you may want to bring with you to the conference:

  • Worship needs: tallit/kippah/tefillin
  • Preferred prayer book (we will use Mishkan Tefillah, and will have limited numbers of copies of Sim Shalom, but if you daven from another siddur, please bring it)
  • A sweater for inside the building
  • Carrying bag or backpack
  • Water bottle
  • Umbrella
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Recording devices
  • Chargers
  • Instruments
  • Any copies you might need if you’re presenting a workshop, or leading tefillah (estimate 80 guests)
  • Conference attire is casual and comfortable, however you define that. If leading tefillah or workshops, we request Business Casual attire
  • Bathing Suit and cover up (we will have a pool party on Tuesday night!)
  • Dressier outfit for our Wednesday night community concert

Monday, June 15

Registration begins at the hotel at 3:00 pm, then continues at the Temple with Wine & Cheese, and a warm welcome from all our sisters in song. Dinner begins at 6:00 pm, followed by Maariv, then back to the hotel for our first Music Share (with the theme: High Holy Days, Festivals & Niggunim — A Capella and Accompanied)

Tuesday, June 16

We begin this very full day with a meditation warm up and Shacharit. Then we will attend a panel presentation: Exploring Best Practices of Outreach: A Multi-Cultural Discussion, moderated by Rabbi Vered Harris, and featuring Dr. Imam Imad Enchassi, senior Imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, and other Oklahoma faith and cultural community leaders.

Our Tuesday late morning thought-provoking workshop offerings will be:

  • It’s in Me, It’s in You: Meeting the Challenge of Implicit Bias
  • Rituals to Soothe in Times of Community Crisis
  • Is Imitation the Highest Form of Flattery, OR is it Musical Misappropriation


After lunch on Tuesday, we will travel to midtown Oklahoma City for a guided tour of the Oklahoma City Memorial Museum to learn details of the Murrah Federal Building bombing that redefined the city some 25 years ago on April 19, 1995.  From the museum, we will walk into the beautiful and moving Memorial itself with its meditative reflecting pool and 168 chairs representing the 168 lives lost on that horrible, historic day. In that solemn and spiritual setting, we will join together for a combined Mincha and memorial service.

Upon returning to the Temple, there will be plenty of time to process the day’s activities, shop our shuk and decompress. We’ll enjoy a great dinner, pray together with Maariv, then it’s out to the Temple pool (YES, we are the Shul with the Pool!!) for a party!

Wednesday, June 17


This will be an especially music filled day! After vocal warm ups and Shacharit, we will attend a Vocal Health Workshop lead by Professor Barbara DeMaio from the University of Central Oklahoma. Professor DeMaio will address the many ways we can keep our voices healthy when we’re under stress (think High Holy Days), dealing with illness, or feeling the vocal effects of aging.

We’ll spend the rest of the morning rehearsing for our portion of a Multi-Culture Community concert at the Temple that evening. The concert will feature performances by groups that reflect different cultural communities in Oklahoma City, along with several pieces that we will perform, and a grand finale that will include everyone (even the audience!).

We will conduct our Annual Meeting during our lunch time then break out for workshops that include:

  • Nusach
  • Where’s the Text? Sefaria Training

And more…

Our second Music Share follows, with the theme Love of Every Kind.

Finally, after dinner and Maariv, we will conclude the evening with our Concert, followed by a reception for all the participants and audience members.



Thursday, June 18


We will begin our final morning together with a gentle yoga warm up, followed by Shacharit with a d’var Torah delivered by Rabbi Vered Harris. This will lead directly to our Closing Circle,

during which we express our gratitude for the support and love of our fellow members, allowing us to leave with a greater sense of purpose and a resolve to stay involved and close throughout the year.

To Hotel from Will Rogers World Airport (approx. 15 minutes)

Exit terminal and merge on to Airport Road/South Meridian Ave. Use the right lane to merge onto OK-152 E/Airport Rd via the ramp to Downtown/Interstate 44. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for Interstate 44 E/Interstate 40/Tulsa/Downtown and merge onto I-44 E. Continue on I-44 E to NW 50th St. Take the NW 50th St exit from OK-3 W. Turn left on May Avenue. Turn right on 56th Street. Follow street around to front of hotel, which faces Northwest Expressway.

Please note the hotel does not have a shuttle to/from the airport, but Uber and Lyft are convenient and inexpensive options since the airport is so close.

To Hotel – Driving from the North, South, East or West

Consult Google, Siri, Wayzz or your favorite cyber navigator

4 minutes door to door!  Directions to come!

Copyright Policy: Women Cantors’ Network
April 2015

The WCN is an organization that respects music and musicians and composers. It is our responsibility as carriers of Jewish music traditions to adhere to both the letter of the civil law, as well as Torah law, when it comes to copyright. The following are the rules for music usage, sharing and performance:

Part I: Copyright Rules at Conferences:

Written Music:

Permission to use music at the conferences is required. This includes at T’filah, unless the piece is in public domain. The individual composer or arranger will let you know if they require licensing and fees.

All music that is disseminated at the WCN Conference and must be clearly labeled: “WCN – For one-time use only. Copying not permitted.”

Note: this goes for written music and for chord/guitar tablature, as well as well as electronic sharing: overhead/power point presentations, tablets or any electronic or digitized forms. This is solely the responsibility of the person sharing the music at a conference in any form: worship, sessions/workshops or song/niggun share.

In addition, post-conference, none of the written music may be copied, re-used, shared, posted, given away or sent in any form without express written permission of the composer/arranger. Again, the onus falls to the person presenting/performing the piece of music.

Conference Concert performances:

Due diligence must be used in obtaining permission and licensing, if required, by the composer/arranger, to sing a piece in concert or performance – whether or not a fee is charged for attendance.

T’filah/Worship Services:

Singing at a worship service falls under Fair Use for churches and only the performance of the music is covered, not a song sheet with lyrics only, or a power point, or other electronic use. Permission/licensing (as above) is required for pieces that are used under other conditions. Under Fair Use law, you may make a copy for an accompanist, but that copy is not allowed to be used again after the performance.


The laws regarding streaming are very complex and are changing constantly. As we do not have a clearinghouse (such as BMI or ASCAP) that polices and pays Jewish composers, it is recommended that we do not stream anything at the conference. Legal experts are divided on this, and, in the absence of a clear mandate, our tradition calls on us to be cautious, and err on the side of NOT stealing someone’s work.

Note: Fair Use covers only “brick and mortar” performances – in the actual building of the worship service. Once it leaves the building (via the web, for example), no matter whether you are making money or not, you are breaking copyright law. The lack of money changing hands does not negate the fact that you cannot broadcast, disseminate or share music that you do not own the copyright to.

Part II: List-Serve and Sharing:

“Does anyone have a copy of…?”

It is against the law to give someone else music that is not yours. Period. We have many resources at the WCN, and requests for music can and should be followed up with links to these resources: “Hey, I love and use So-and-So’s V’shamru. Here is how you can reach her,” or “you can find it on OySongs or with Hal Leonard or HaZamir Publications…” or hundreds of others. Requesting chords to a song, without requesting written music should be handled on a case-by-case basis. Please use your discretion. Ideally, all requests should be forwarded directly to the composer or publishing company.

“My office was just moved and I have in it a box, but can’t find it and I need it by tonight!”

Again, please use your discretion – if they already own it, it falls under Fair Use.

The easiest law to remember: If you don’t own it, you can’t share it. Go directly to the composer/arranger – most in the Jewish music world are overjoyed to share! Adrian Durlester is compiling a list of composers and publishers that he is happy to share with the WCN at a future date.

Respectfully submitted,

Robbi Sherwin, Vice President
Women Cantors’ Network

2020 Conference Registration

  • $275 Early Bird Pricing until April 15th, 2020
  • $300 Full Conference April 16th – Jun. 1
  • $375 Late Registration Full Conference after Jun. 1
  • $375 Walk-Ins, Full Conference
  • $180 Student Full Conference
  • $150 One Day Either Tuesday, June 16 or Wednesday June 17
  • $90 Student One Day Either Tuesday, June 16 or Wednesday June 17
2020 Conference Schedule – Postponed
Workshop Descriptions
Become an Exhibitor
Hotel Registration
The deadline for scholarship applications is March 31st, 2020