Cantor’s Meeting in Sybertsville, PA

All cantors of the Eparchy of Passaic are invited to a gathering of cantors to be held on Saturday, February 18, from 11 AM to 1 PM at  Holy Dormition Byzantine Franciscan Friary, Route 92, Sybertsville PA.

Agenda items:

  • Review the music for the Liturgy of St. Basil
  • Review the music for the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
  • Share updates from the Metropolitan Cantor Institute
  • Discuss future  activities

Coffee and Danish will be available from 10:30 on, and a light lenten lunch will be available for those who can stay past 1 PM.  If you would like to stay for lunch, please contact Phil Yevics at philyevics@gmail.com or (570)239-0611 so that adequate preparations can be made.

Please bring the names of deceased cantors from your parish, since this is the first All Souls’ Saturday for this year.

First steps toward a hymnal

At the request of the Inter-Eparchial Music Commission, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute is sponsoring initial work on a hymal – that is, a collection of paraliturgical hymns for singing before and after the Divine Liturgy, and on other church occasions as well.

On Saturday, October 2, 2016, we held a workshop on paraliturgical hymns at which we sang through a variety of our hymns, and discussed what might go into the proposed hymnal.  A complete recording of this workshop is now available, along with the handout that was distributed.

Please take a listen, and if you have thoughts on the subject, or things you’d like to suggest go into the new collection, please leave a comment here!

Online Courses for 2017

The Metropolitan Cantor Institute will offer the following online courses in 2017:

Introduction to Liturgy – February 12 to April 7, 2017

An 8-week introduction to the liturgical services and traditions of the Byzantine Rite. The course will cover the liturgical day and week, fixed and moveable feasts, the Divine Liturgy and holy mysteries. This is an introductory course that establishes liturgical knowledge for further cantor education.  (No singing component.) Tuition: $50.

Introduction to Church Singing – February 12 to April 7

An 8-week course that covers the fundamentals of plain chant: musical scales and notation, ear training, basic vocal technique, and the simplest chant melodies: singing on a single pitch, chanting to the usual psalm tone, and singing basic responses such as “Amen” and “Lord, have mercy.”  Students will record their singing for review and feedback. Tuition: $75. Continue reading Online Courses for 2017

Matins at the Cathedral in Parma

Every Sunday morning, parishioners of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Parma, Ohio pray full Matins, led by the harmonized chant of eight fellow parishioners, most of them seasoned cantors.

What began as a special initiative to offer Vespers every Sunday evening during the Great Fast, blossomed into an ongoing commitment to chant weekly Matins.

cathedralsingers1_1425

Father Andrew Summerson, who leads the singers and who serves as parochial vicar, said some parishioners had approached him with the desire to continue offering the same quality chant they had offered during the Great Fast during Holy Week and Pascha.

Thus began the cathedral singers, who after Pascha, took on Matins, which are now sung entirely in English. Continue reading Matins at the Cathedral in Parma

Draft Cantor Directory is online

Earlier this year, the MCI announced plans to put together an up-to-date roster of our cantors, so that we can provide then with regular news and continuing education. It soon became clear that the lists we had were woefully out of date, and before collecting contact information, we first needed to identify the current cantors in each parish. So we have created this new web page.

http://mci.archpitt.org/cantors/Pittsburgh.html

Look here for an explanation of the categories of cantor, assistant cantor, student cantor, and retired cantor. These categories help us determine what each singer needs to know how to do, and also lets us assess the relative needs of each parish.

Pastors and cantors, please send any updates or corrections to Deacon Jeffrey Mierzejewski (mci@archpitt.org) by January 15.

New year, new calendar

Christ is born!

20161230_144418The liturgical calendar for 2017 is now on the MCI website. Please be aware that this year, I am planning to update some of the proper music for fix typos, correct some bad phrasing, and so on. Whenever older music is updated in this way, I will add “Last modified on <date>” on the bottom of the first page.

Cantors should also order (and learn to use!) the annual typikon from the Byzantine Seminary Press:

http://www.byzantineseminarypress.com/2017-annual-typicon/

This booklet has detailed directions for the hymns to be sung at each major Divine Liturgy in the year. In January, the MCI will put explanatory and practice material to help you learn to use the typikon.

Online courses from our Seminary

bcs_online_logoThe Byzantine Online program at Saints Cyril and Methodius Seminary has announced the following online courses for the Spring 2017 semester.

COURSES FOR CERTIFICATE CREDIT:

The Word of Life: Seven Characteristics of the Bible for Byzantine Christians (Fr. Deacon Daniel Dozier, Word of Life Institute)

This course explores the central place of the Bible (Sacred Scripture) in the life and mission of the Church. Drawing on the rich liturgical, catechetical and patristic traditions of Byzantine Christianity, we will identify Seven Characteristics of the Bible: the Word of God, the Church’s Book, a Book of Books, a Story of Stories, a Ladder of Mysteries, a Book of the Liturgy and a Disciple’s Handbook. By completing this course, students will be able to identify some of the ways that biblical texts, imagery, stories and allusions both form and inform what we believe (doctrine), how we worship (liturgy) and our spiritual lives (discipleship) in the Church.

Plainchant in the Byzantine Catholic Church (Jeff Mierzejewski, Metropolitan Cantor Institute)

This course will examine the prostopinije, or plainchant, of the Byzantine (Ruthenian) Catholic Church. Prospective students who already participate in the Byzantine Catholic Church will have the opportunity to broaden and deepen their understanding of our liturgical chant, and how it is used in our services. Students from other churches or disciplines will be provided with a living example of a complete system of liturgical chant, and learn how it has been used in the past, and is used today.

COURSES FOR COLLEGE CREDIT:

Theology of the Divine Praises (Fr. David Petras, Professor Emeritus)

This course will survey the theological, spiritual and historical elements of the Liturgy of the Hours in the Christian church.

Any cantor who is interested in serious study of our Scripture, liturgy, and music should consider taking one of these course somes time.  For more information, or to register, go to online.bcs.edu.

 

Reader’s Course Videos Available

In September, reader’s courses were held at our cathedrals in Munhall, PA and Parma, OH. Thanks to Fr. Andrew Summerson, the Parma classes were professionally recorded, and those recordings are now available along with the class handouts:

Video 1 (48 minutes)
Video 2 (82 minutes)

Web link: Lectionary
Handout: Introduction to the Books of the Bible
Handout: Tones for Chanting Psalms and Readings
Handout: Tones for the Prokeimenon and Alleluia Verses
Handout: Text of Psalm 50
Handout: Practice readings

As always, materials from previous MCI courses can be found here.

Cantor Retreat 2016

Fifteeen cantors attended our annual Day of Prayer at St. Elias Byzantine Catholic Church in Munhall, PA on Saturday, October 29. Sister Barbara Mihalchik from Mount Saint Macrina led the retreat, explaining how cantors can improve (or start!) a personal prayer life, using a basic prayer process popularized by Matthew Kelly, author of The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. She also talked with the cantors about using the prayers and hymns of the liturgical cycle to guide their own personal prayer.

cantor-retreat-2016

The day included lunch, and concluded with a Panachida for all our deceased cantors, celebrated by Father Dennis Bogda of St. John’s Cathedral in Munhall.  We hope to have another next year; mid-autumn seems to be the best time. If you have suggestions for a location or retreat leader, please comment under this post!

Changes at the Metropolitan Cantor Institute

(The following message went out today on the mcinews mailing list.  If you’re not on it, please join!)

Dear Cantors,

I am writing to let you know that my daytime employer (IBM) has relocated my job (and me) to Austin, Texas as of November 1.  The new mailing address for the Metropolitan Cantor Institute will be 10002 Faylin Drive, Austin TX, 78753.  I will continue to be reachable at (412) 735-1676.

Metropolitan William has asked me to continue to serve as director of the Metropolitan Cantor Institute; to coordinate cantor education across our four eparchies; and to continue to help with the work of the Inter-Eparchial Liturgical Commission.  He also wants to see us provide much more assistance to cantors who cannot make it to Pittsburgh for classes (though we are continuing to plan a 5-day cantor / choir director workshop for new July).

Because our household goods are still in transit, my access to email and to the MCI website will be limited for the next week or so.  But once things are back in order, expect some announcements for upcoming events and resources.

Please keep me in your prayers!

In Christ,
Deacon Jeffrey Mierzejewski