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Sacred Music News

Message From the Department of Sacred Music for Choir and Chanter Appreciation Sunday

On this second Sunday in December, the Antiochian Archdiocese recognizes the contributions of all of our church singers and their vital role in communicating the teachings of the Church through melody and maintaining the beauty and dignity of our divine services.

It is through the work of hundreds of musicians across the Archdiocese that our experience in holy worship finds its voice.

Today the Department of Sacred Music joins with His Eminence and the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese to say "thank you" for all the time and love that so many are giving.

Metropolitan JOSEPH'S Letter for Choir and Chanter Appreciation Sunday

(To be read from the pulpit and printed in the bulletin)

Beloved Brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, and Christ-loving Faithful of Our God-protected Archdiocese:

Blessings and greetings to all of you in the Name of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ!

One of the hallmarks of our Orthodox Christian faith is the beauty of our worship. Our ecclesiastical music, when done with prayer and skill, can elucidate the rich theology of our hymnography in such a way that worshippers can exclaim – as did the emissaries sent by Saint Vladimir – "we know not whether we are in heaven or on earth!"

Because we owe such a tremendous amount of gratitude to our choirs and our chanters, we set aside the second Sunday of December to honor them for the key role they play in our liturgical life.

Register Now! 2018 Winter Sacred Music Institute Is February 1-4 in Houston

 

 

 

 

 


The Department of Sacred Music is thrilled to announce the 2018 Winter Sacred Music Institute, being held from February 1-4, 2018, and hosted once again by the ever generous and gracious St. George Orthodox Christian Church in Houston, TX.

Come spend a musical weekend learning, sharing, singing, praying, and of course, eating! A variety of courses will be available to suit your needs, whether it be choral instruction, Byzantine chant, music theory, vocal technique, structure of services, theology, and of course, singing, singing, singing!

Worshipping the Virgin Mary? An Orthodox Understanding

By Christopher Holwey, BS, MDiv
Department of Sacred Music

As I was preparing the music for August 20, 2017—the After-Feast of the Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Theotokos—I noticed that in the first stichera at "O Lord, I have cried" for Vespers, after it states how Christ translated His Mother out of this world, and brought His disciples together to give her proper burial, it says:

". . . Then the Apostles, seeing thee, O Virgin, were filled with grace, and with exceeding great reverence, they all then sacredly worshipped thee and cried out with firm faith: O rejoice, thou who hast brought forth Great Mercy for the world."

I was really struck by the words “sacredly worshipped thee” regarding the Virgin Mary. Unless we are doing daily services, we may not hear them on August 20th except when it happens to fall on a Sunday; or perhaps we are chanting them every year but using a different translation. This particular translation from Holy Transfiguration Monastery uses the word “worship.” I kept that in mind and continued on with the second Stichera, wherein the Virgin asks the disciples how they came to know of her departure from the body and she inquires about this most wondrous sight. The disciples respond:

St. Vladimir's Seminary President to be Keynote Speaker at Sacred Music Institute in July

Photo: svots.eduPhoto: svots.eduThe Department of Sacred Music is happy to announce that The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, President of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, will be the keynote speaker at this summer's Sacred Music Institute (SMI) and Youth Music Ministry (YMM), July 12–16, 2017 at the Antiochian Village. Father Chad will be addressing the theme for the week: "Music as Ministry: Looking Outward Through Orthodox Hymnography."

For more information, please contact Paul Jabara or visit the Department of Sacred Music homepage.

Register Now! Sacred Music Institute and Youth Music Ministry, July 12-16

Metropolitan Joseph's letter for SMI
Register here
Download the flyer
Youth Music Ministry (YMM) application
View the YMM Agenda

The Department of Sacred Music joyfully announces the themes for the next two Sacred Music Institutes (SMI), in which we will more deeply examine our mission: guiding chanters, choirs, and congregations to musical excellence in worship for the glory of God. There is much to learn from these topics! This summer's Institute on July 12–16, 2017, hosted by Antiochian Village, is titled "Music as Ministry: Looking Outward through Orthodox Hymnody." The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, President of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, will be the keynote speaker.

Next summer's SMI (July 11–15, 2018) will continue the topic with the theme "Music as Vocation: Looking Inward through Orthodox Hymnody." 

"Let us strive this year for every parish to send people to make this Institute an even greater experience for all," urges His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph in his 2017 SMI letter. 

Attention Church Musicians! Audition Recordings for Sacred Music Chamber Choir Due June 1

Paul Jabara, Department of Sacred Music Chairman, is searching for choristers with advanced vocal training and musical experience who will perform in a select Sacred Music Chamber Choir at the Sacred Music Institute on July 12–16, 2017 at Antiochian Village. The chamber choir will sing a variety of Orthodox hymns, both Byzantine and Choral, under the direction of Mr. Jabara.

The choir will be limited to eighteen members. Singers are asked to audition with a piece of their choice that demonstrates their technique and vocal range. The recording can be made on an iPhone or similar device, and emailed to Paul Jabara at sacredmusic@antiochian.org. The audition deadline is June 1, 2017.

The Sacred Music Chamber Choir was formed six years ago, allowing experienced choristers the opportunity to challenge themselves and perform Orthodox music of the highest calibre. Longterm plans for the Chamber Choir include the creation of a recording of Orthodox Christian hymns, and the performance of public concerts throughout the Archdiocese.

Save the Date! 2017 Sacred Music Institute and Youth Music Ministry are July 12-16




 

 

 

SAVE THE DATE!

  • Summer Sacred Music Institute  (SMI) and Youth Music Ministry, ages 14-18 (YMM)
  • July 12-16, 2017
  • Antiochian Village

For more information, please contact Paul Jabara for the SMI, at sacredmusic@antiochian.org; or Chris Farha for the YMM, at chrisfarha@cox.netLook for preliminary schedules and registration forms after Pascha.

Read about the 2016 SMI and YMM at Antiochian Village

Now Available: Hyperlinking of Sacred Music Within Liturgical Texts

 

 

 

 

 


Tired of searching for sheet music to match the texts of the divine services while trying to worship in church? The Departments of Sacred Music and Liturgics have teamed up to make things easier for our chanters and choirs by now providing hyperlinks to pieces of music, built right into the PDF versions of the Liturgical Texts of the Online Liturgical Guide. Click on the hyperlinks from any computer or smart device for many of our hymns arranged by composers of the Antiochian Archdiocese, such as "O Lord, I Have Cried;" apolytikia and kontakia for Sundays feasts and saints; seasonal katabasiae; the Praises; prosomoia (model hymns); and so much more.

Each of the blue-colored links will take you directly to the music itself. Chanters using smart devices (phones and tablets) for the divine services in church can sing that piece of music, hit the "back" button, and return to the Liturgical Text where they left off to continue with the service until the next hyperlink.

Recording of Original Orthodox Liturgical Hymns Released by Archdiocese Composer-in-Residence

The Archdiocese Department of Sacred Music's Composer-in-Residence nazo zakkak has released his premiere CD of liturgical music, titled LUXARI. A collection of original hymns for the Orthodox Church, LUXARI draws on the influences of traditional Byzantine, Russian, and Romanian music, and lovingly crafts them into a new and enticing American sound. The CD also features works commissioned by churches and monasteries across the US.

As a composer, nazo zakkak is one of Orthodox America’s next generation of liturgical musicians seeking to develop an authentic musical expression of the Church’s prayer in this time and place. The fruit of his labor can be heard on this, his first liturgical music CD. All the hymns on this album are appropriate for liturgical use within the Orthodox faith, yet shine in a concert setting. The Adelfos Ensemble from Santa Barbara, CA performs the works.

Winter 2017 Sacred Music Institute in Houston Has Lenten Theme

St. George, HoustonSt. George, HoustonUpdate: The registration deadline has been extended to February 9th.

It's not too late to sign up for the Winter 2017 Sacred Music Institute (SMI), with the theme of "Great Lent: A Church Singer's Guide." This SMI will be held on February 17–19, 2017, at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Houston, TX. At the same time, teens will have their very own sessions in the Youth Music Ministry (YMM) track, studying Byzantine chant with Rassem El-Massih and choral music with Paul Jabara. Presentations on the Akathist Service and Presanctified Liturgy will be offered and God-willing, the teens will lead one of the services.

Don't miss this opportunity to gain a better understanding of Lenten services, their history and structure, and to learn new music, both Byzantine chant and Western choral. Instructors include Chairman Paul Jabara, Diocesan Directors Mareena Boosamra Ball and Chris Farha, and chanters Rassem El-Massih and Emily Lowe. The Institute will offer instruction in Byzantine chant, vocal and choral technique, conducting, and theology. Private and small group vocal lessons will be available throughout the weekend. Scholarships are available for both teens and adults: contact Chris Farha for more information.

Register now!

Youth Music Ministry Teen Scholarships Available

Great Opportunity for Teens who love Music!

The Department of Sacred Music is thrilled to announce the upcoming Youth Music Ministry, in conjunction with the 2017 Winter Sacred Music Institute, to be held from February 17, 2017 at 7 p.m. until February 19, 5 p.m. Hosted by St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Houston, this weekend promises to be informative, inspirational and a lot of fun, Texas style! REGISTER HERE!!

This is the first time a Youth Music Ministry, or YMM, has been organized outside of the Summer Sacred Music Institute at the Antiochian Village. We invite all teens, especially those from the host parish Diocese of Wichita and Mid America, to participate.

Come learn more about Lenten services, their history, theology and of course their music. Think of it as kind of a tune-up before Great Lent begins!

Metropolitan Joseph's Message for Choir and Chanter Appreciation Sunday 2016

December 11, 2016
Choir and Chanter Appreciation Sunday

“I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being” Psalm 104:33

Beloved in Christ:

Greetings to you and your families as we prepare to celebrate the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

As is the custom in our Archdiocese, the second Sunday of December is dedicated to our choirs and chanters who work so hard to make our divine services beautiful throughout the year. Our choirs in the Archdiocese resemble our families and parishes. Some are large and strong; some are small and need help. Some have many polished and professional singers; others depend on the goodwill of volunteers with little or no musical training. Some have weekly practices and others less often. The common thread is that they all do what they do out of a love for the divine services and a desire to praise the All-Holy Trinity.

Choir and Chanter Appreciation Sunday Message from Paul Jabara

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

This Sunday marks a very special day for us. It is Choir and Chanter Appreciation Sunday. Anyone who attends an Orthodox service is immediately lifted by the sheer beauty of the music. If it weren’t for the tireless efforts of our chanters, choir members and conductors, congregations would not be elevated by the stunning hymnography of the Church, but by words alone. 

Dedicating one’s musical gift to God is truly a labor of love. Not only are singers needed at just about every service, each of those services comes with prior rehearsal and planning. Church singers devote many hours each week learning new music and reviewing old, working on their technique so they can sound better for those in prayerful attendance. The more beautiful the music, after all, the more beautiful the prayer.

New Music CD Released by SOYO and the Department of Sacred Music: Digital Download Available

A beautiful new music CD, Grace Shining Forth, has just been released in time for holiday gift giving! The CD is a collaborative effort of SOYO, the Department of Sacred Music, and the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries. Discounts are available for quantities of five or more. Shop now, and receive your order in time for Christmas. More information is available on the Teen SOYO website.

 
Download digital version
Order your Grace Shining Forth Music CD

 

"A Flood of Musical Splendor": 2016 Sacred Music Institute

By Paul Jabara, Chairman of the Department of Sacred Music, and Emily Lowe, Coordinator of SMI

View the photo gallery

Last year, the Sacred Music Institute celebrated its thirtieth anniversary, and it was truly a banner year. For three decades, the Department of Sacred Music has offered this annual retreat, giving singers, conductors and chanters the opportunity to develop their God-given gifts. Sessions included several informative and entertaining retrospectives; we introduced the brilliant Nazo Zakkak as our new composer in residence, and we held a chanted monastic-style vigil that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. We offered courses on choral conducting and vocal techniques, on Byzantine chant and notation in addition to our numerous rehearsals and presentations. The crowning glory of the weekend was a visit and address by our Father and Metropolitan Joseph, who expressed the utmost encouragement for the work of our department.

Memory Eternal! + Department Mourns Loss of Fr. Boniface Black

The Department of Sacred Music is deeply saddened by the passing of Fr. Boniface Black. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to Fr. Boniface's family and friends, and especially to Kh. Joyce, a longtime friend and supporter of our department. Khouria taught at the Sacred Music Institute for many years, and her enthusiasm for Byzantine music gave rise to a resurgence in traditional Antiochian-style chant in North America. We pray that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will grant her strength during this difficult time.

May Father Boniface's memory be eternal. Read more information about his life and the schedule of services on the St. Philip Orthodox Church website.

Sign up Now! Metropolitan Joseph's Archpastoral Directive Regarding the Sacred Music Institute

On March 9, 2016, Metropolitan Joseph issued this Archpastoral Directive. Please note that the early bird deadline is June 8: rooms are going fast so book soon!

Dear Reverend Pastors of this God-Protected Archdiocese,

Greetings and Blessings during this Holy Triodion Season!

The Department of Sacred Music has been charged to elevate the beauty of our liturgical music in our parishes and missions. The Sacred Music Institute (SMI) provides necessary instruction, education and tools to our choir directors, singers and chanters, without which we cannot properly glorify the Lord with our chanting and singing. With a history of over thirty years, the Sacred Music Institute has a proven track record of helping church musicians of all ages and levels progress in their ministry.

Save the Date + Summer Sacred Music Institute and Youth Music Ministry

Sacred Music Institute Summer Sacred Music Institute and Youth Music Ministry
July 13-17, 2016
Antiochian Village
Theme: Liturgy – The Work of the People
Download Flyer (PDF)
Schedule Outline (PDF)
Registration Fact Sheet (PDF)

Sacred Music Institute Registration
Youth Music Ministry Application

Please book your rooms early, as the 2016 SMI is expected to sell out! The SMI begins Wednesday July 13th at 5PM and return flights on Sunday, July 17th should not depart before 4PM.

Join our Facebook page for up to date information.

Byzantine Menaion Project by Basil Kazan to be Made Available Online

The music for the Byzantine Menaion Project by Basil Kazan is now being made available in the Department of Sacred Music's PDF Library. Additions have begun with January (PDF), and will continue to be uploaded from there. Each month includes the music for the major feasts and saints of the month, for Vespers and Matins, and occasionally for the changeable parts in the Divine Liturgy.

PDFs will be offered in the Sacred Music Library's section M, for Menaion. The music is type-set, properly accented and barred, with ison, and rubrics and instructions added in, along with special melodies noted. The music was previously out of print, but is now available here in PDF format. May it help us all in our chanting of the liturgical services, as we praise our God and glorify His holy Name, honor His saints, and celebrate the Feasts of the Holy Orthodox Church!

Register Now for 2016 West Coast Sacred Music Institute

SACRED MUSIC INSTITUTE

Registration form and schedule for the 2016 West Coast Sacred Music Institute is now available! Make your arrangements today!

February 25-28, 2016,
St. John the Evangelist, Orinda, CA
Download Flyer (PDF)
Download Registration Form (PDF)
Download Schedule (PDF)

Nativity Letter from the Department of Sacred Music

Nativity Message from Paul Jabara, Chairman, Department of Sacred Music

December 23, 2015

Your Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, beloved Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Christ Is in Our Midst!

I pray that everyone is well and is as excited as I am to celebrate the blessed nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

As we approach one of the most glorious feast days of our liturgical year, we reflect on the magnitude of this day and how it has changed our lives forever. Without birth there is no death, and without death there is no resurrection. This is the time of year when we are reminded of all the beauty and wonder in this world, and that every gift we have comes from above.

Pan-Orthodox Music Symposium Announced for June 2016

Registration now open for Minneapolis event

Minneapolis, MN – The International Society for Orthodox Church Music (www.isocm.com) will host a pan-Orthodox music symposium at St Mary's Orthodox Cathedral from Wednesday, June 22 through Sunday, June 26, 2016. The event will include presentations and workshops, music reading sessions, rehearsals, and will culminate in a festive hierarchical All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy. The event will also feature a special concert by the critically-acclaimed vocal ensemble Cappella Romana.

According to Archpriest Ivan Moody, ISOCM's board chairman, the aim of this symposium is to bring together people involved in all aspects of music-making in the Orthodox Church - chanters, choir singers, composers, conductors and musicologists. Father Ivan said, "An event like this reinforces the idea that we can all learn from each other and together enrich the worship of the Church."

Letter From His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph for Choir and Chanter Appreciation Sunday: December 13, 2015

"O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!" Psalm 95:1-2

Beloved in Christ,

Each year in the month of December we remember our choirs and chanters. This sacred ministry of the Church is essential to the beauty of our divine services. Oftentimes, a person's first experience of our Holy Orthodox Church is witnessing one of our beautiful services. This experience can either be enhanced by a beautiful and well-prepared choir, or diminished by an unprepared one. We are grateful to all of our choir directors, chanters and singers for their dedication, effort and commitment to making the divine services in their respective parishes beautiful to both God and the faithful.