Jennifer Kerr Budziak


Jennifer Kerr Budziak is a Chicago area liturgical musician, author, conductor, and cantor and is a widely published and recorded composer and arranger of liturgical music.

Jennifer is an assistant conductor of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, conducts the Women’s Chorus at Loyola University, and has served on the choral faculty at St. Xavier University, North Central College, and Concordia University of Chicago. During her years as director for Liturgical Music at the Office for Divine Worship, Jennifer served as conductor, clinician, and cantor at many Chicago-area liturgical events and choral festivals. She authored Sight-Sing a New Song, a textbook on sight-singing and music notation for beginners and Sowing Seeds, Bearing Fruit: A Five Year Process for Growing a Singing Congregation, released in July of 2012, and she is a frequent writer for Liturgy Training Publications on topics of music and liturgy. 

As Editor for Music Formation Resources at GIA, she works to compile, edit, and author materials in the service of pastoral musicians who seek to continue their formation and education as ministers of music. She has served on the National Council of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians and is a frequent presenter at the organization’s regional and national conferences. 

Jennifer holds a doctorate in choral conducting from Northwestern University, a Masters’ Degree in Choral Conducting from Indiana University and a Masters’ Degree in Theology from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Her areas of research involve liminal studies in postmodern music and the application of qualitative research techniques to choral rehearsal and other community music settings.

Jennifer Kerr Budziak’s 2019 Fall Institute Events

Thursday, October 17

Gathering Gifts: Building a Program
Breakout 1 (9:00 AM – 10:15 AM) | Gratz 4G

Sometimes directing the choir or playing the piano or organ is the easy part of the job—but it often feels as though we need a degree in arts management just to run a church music program! This workshop will address practical aspects of program administration, such as recruiting, cantor training and formation, wedding and funeral music planning, and building sustainable programs for children and teens. We will also look at some of the challenges we are often faced with, such as managing conflict within your programs, clergy/musician relationships, and a healthy process for transitioning into or out of a parish. Bring your questions, and we will look for answers together!

Friday, October 18

Teaching Sight-Singing in 7 Minutes a Day
Breakout 6 (2:45 PM – 4:00 PM) | Gratz 4E

It is the perpetual dilemma: our choirs’ difficulty with sight-reading slows down our learning and rehearsal process every year…but we have so much music to learn that we simply don’t have time to slow down and teach our choirs to read music. But what if we could include an ongoing process for teaching music-reading as part of our weekly warm-up time, and reinforce that learning during the remainder of rehearsal? In this workshop we will explore solid strategies for helping our singers overcome their anxiety around music theory and learn to read (and improve their ears and intonation in the process!), without reducing our rehearsal time.