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.

Online Musicianship for Cantors!

In preparation for our online classes, which begin in February, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute has acquired a site license for Theta Music Trainer, a website with computer- and smartphone-based games that teach pitch matching, recognition and singing of scales and intervals, and other important skills.

Complete access to this website is available to all cantors in the Byzantine Catholic Church, as well as students in the MCI Online program. For more information, see the Theta Music Trainer page on the MCI website.

“To Jordan’s Water” – understanding the issues with a new hymnal

A paraliturgical hymn that was sung recently in many of our parishes, “To Jordan’s Water”, illustrates several of the issues we are facing with a new hymnal for the Byzantine Catholic Church.

Continue reading ““To Jordan’s Water” – understanding the issues with a new hymnal”

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.

YOUR HELP REQUESTED: Remembering our choirs

Throughout the history of our church, there has sometimes been competition for “pride of place” between congregational singing of plain chant, and the singing of choirs (whether of harmonized chant, or of choral masterworks). The singing of our notable choirs has not only added beauty to our church in the past; it can also be used in the present to enhance and supplement our congregational singing, and show us how chant was understand or harmonized in the past. And where choirs can be re-founded or formed, they can provide opportunities to train singers in the liturgical services of our rite, and add social activities based in the parish community.

With that in mind, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute has been working with the Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh for some time to collect information and recordings from the principal choirs of the Byzantine Catholic Church. Now we are turning to you for assistance. We are particularly interested in the following choirs and their directors: Continue reading “YOUR HELP REQUESTED: Remembering our choirs”

YOUR HELP REQUESTED: Remembering our professors

For many years, cantors who received comprehensive cantorial training in Europe were known in this country as “professors.” These men led church singing, taught religion classes, directed plays, and often organized church services when clergy were scarce. Over time, other particularly influential cantors were also called by the title, “Professor.”

In order to better preserve and foster our chant tradition, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute has been working with the Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh to collect information about these important leaders in our church. Now we are turning to you for assistance. We are particularly interested in the following cantors: Continue reading “YOUR HELP REQUESTED: Remembering our professors”