Office hours, new menaion, and revision work

With the start of fall MCI Online classes and the beginning of a new liturgical year, we are making some additions to the Metropolitan Cantor Institute schedule.

“Office hours”

On Thursdays, I will be holding virtual office hours using Skype for MCI Online students, as well as cantors who have questions about upcoming music or MCI projects.

They will normally be held from 9-11 PM Eastern time; if for any reason they are cancelled, there will be a note on the MCI website, mci.archpitt.org.  To join, contact me on Skype (jeff.mierzejewski) approximately 15 minutes before you plan to join the office hours conference call.

Office hours will begin tomorrow, August 16, and continue through the end of September, at which point we will decide if they should be continued

New menaion project

I have received several requests to collect and collate all the music that has been set by the MCI for the liturgical year.  The entire Menaion (for Vespers, Matins, Divine Liturgy, etc) is entirely too large a project at the moment, but it should be quite possible to collect most of this material, a month at a time.

So beginning in September, I will be collecting the Vespers stichera, certain Matins hymns, and the hymns of the Divine Liturgy for each day, and putting them online.  Where texts are not available, users will be pointed  to appropriate commons.

Fine-tuning of existing music

As part of the work on a menaion, I will also be making some updates, corrections, and “tuning changes” to the MCI-provided music for these hymns, especially in places where they do not match the standard forms of the melodies set by the Inter-Eparchial Liturgical Commission.

As a result, the links in the Liturgical Calendar will be removed from September 1 onward, and re-established as music is reviewed.  Any music that is updated will have a revision date at the bottom of the first page.

If you are interested in reviewing this music as it is revised, drop me a note at mci@archpitt.org.

Congratulations, Spring 2017 MCI Students!

The following students have successfully completed MCI Online courses in the first half of 2018.

Introduction to Liturgy
Greg Beattie
Noel Bustillos
Lucia Clinch-Reimer
Carol Donlin
Sherill Franklin
Joe Herman
Susan Kopko
Lawrence Lattuca
Pamela Pettit
Anthony Polocz
Paul Polocz
Rob Polocz
Sandy Polocz
Samuel Popiel
Nicholas Rakovic
Robert Riley
Gina Romancheck
Michelle Rubush
Mike Shulz
Angela Sedun
Amy Seyfried
Susan Tate
Colin Ventrella
Elizabeth Zackowski

Introduction to Church Singing
Lucia Clinch-Reimer
Carol Donlin
Sherill Franklin
Joe Herman
Susan Kopko
Lawrence Lattuca
Pamela Pettit
Bella Polocz
Kathleen Polocz
Rob Polocz
Sandy Polocz
Samuel Popiel
Nicholas Rakovic
Michelle Rubush
Mike Shulz
Angela Sedun
Amy Seyfried
Susan Tate
Colin Ventrella
Elizabeth Zackowski

Congratulations to all!  Signups for Fall classes are now open.

2017 Summer Church Music Program

This year, the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh is inaugurating a regular summer church music program for cantors, choir directors, and section leaders. For 2017, the program will consist of a three-day master class and workshop to be held on July 12-14 at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA.  Continue reading “2017 Summer Church Music Program”

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.