The demise of metropolitancantorinstitute.org

metropolitancantorinstitute.org is the old name for the MCI website.  We moved all the content to mci.archpitt.org when the MCI web pages were shifted to the Archeparchy’s own webserver, way back in 2014.

As of January 16, 2020, we are dropping the old domain name, and metropolitancantorinstitute.org will no longer be forwarded automatically to mci.archpitt.org.    Please update any bookmarks to point to the new address (the rest of  the URL remains the same).

Feel free to add a comment here if you have any questions.

Making the Grade: Final MCI graduate under the “old” program

From 2001 to 2014, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute held Saturday chant classes in Pittsburgh, covering a different topic at each class.  Over a multi-year rotation, cantors learned  necessary skills, and received a certificate for finishing the full course of study.  Eventually, we added an in-person “final exam” in the form of a cantored Divine Liturgy at which an MCI instructor could see, comment on, and “sign off” that a student had in fact learned the skills we tried to teach.

So it is with great happiness that I can congratulate Mary Benedict, cantor of Saints Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Church in Erie, PA.  Mary is the last cantor to complete the “old” MCI program, having regularly driven to Pittsburgh to attend classes, and completing her final examination in 2019.

Here is a list of graduates of the Metropolitan Cantor Institute program. As we move from occasional classroom courses to online, year-round education for cantors, I would like to recognize all those cantors and cantor-students who traveled to the Byzantine Catholic Seminary throughout the fall, winter, and spring to learn the art of church singing and chant leadership.

2006
Marylyn Barone
Henry Zolyak
Mary Caryl Planiczki
Steven Puluka
George Mihalick
Delcine Caddy
Stephen Petach

2007
Mary Frances Zadzilko
Nicholas J. Nagrant
Diane Ryan Oravecz

2008
Jeff Mierzejewski
Michael Oravecz
Ann Pawluszka

2011
Saundra Frankowski
Marilyn Hertenstein

2016
Tom Rodack

2019
Mary Benedict

(and if you know anyone who should be on this list but isn’t, please add their name below in the comments!)

Finally, I would like to thank J. Michael Thompson, first director of the MCI, who put together this multiyear program and saw it become a reality.

Congratulations, 2019 MCI Students!

The following students have successfully completed MCI Online courses in 2019.

Introduction to Liturgy
David Boney
Sidney Cline
Lawrence Coleman
Steve Doucet
Stephen Farlow
A Gerling
Stephen Hilgendorf
Gregory Hrinda
Diane Hvasta
Michael Katalenich
Seraphima Kemner
Sophia Kemner
Corey Knick
Nicholas Mataya
Jacob Moylan
Scott Romanoski
Sam Schroetke
Naomi Sweetman
Olivia Whitlock
William Wilson
Patricia Yamrick

Introduction to Church Singing
Michael Katalenich
Sam Schroetke
Russell Ward

Introduction to the Typikon
Gregory Hrinda
Michael Katalenich
Jacob Moylan
Scott Romanoski
Olivia Whitlock
Patricia Yamrick

Reading in Church
Robert Dillon

Introduction to the Divine Liturgy
Robert Dillon
Maria McKay
Mike Schulz
Colin Ventralla
Judith Walsh

Introduction to the Eight Tones
David Hennessy
Michelle Rubush
Ron Somich
Susan Tate
Colin Ventralla
Judith Walsh

The Liturgical Year (new class)
Sherill Franklin
Susan Kopko
Sue Ann Rudolphy
Amy Seyfried

The Divine Liturgy
Sue Ann Rudolphy

The Office of Vespers
Sherill Franklin
Judith Walsh

Mastering the Eight T0nes
Sherill Franklin

The Great Fast and Holy Week (new class)
Sue Ann Rudolphy
Andrea Riley
Amy Seyfried

From Pascha to All Saints (new class)
Sue Ann Rudolphy
Andrea Riley
Amy Seyfried

Services for the Living
Sue Ann Rudolphy

Hierarchical and Reader Services
Matthew Minerd

Services for the Departed (new class)
Robert Bartz
Sherill Franklin
Mary Hendricks
Steve Petach
Milan Revilak
Julia Revilakova
Andrea Riley
Sue Ann Rudolphy
Amy Seyfried
Patricia Yamrick

Services of Christmas and Theophany (new class)
Matthew Minerd
Julia Revilakova
Andrea Riley
Sue Ann Rudolphy
Amy Seyfried
Patricia Yamrick

Congratulations to all!  For more about MCI Online classes in 2020, see here

(By the way, the classes page now includes the total number of students who have completed each class.)

Devotions for New Year’s Eve

In 1947, Father Julius Grigassy of the Byzantine (Ruthenian) Exarchate of Pittsburgh – the predecessor to the current Archeparchy – published a little booklet of “devotions” for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.  This booklet was republished by the Archeparchy in 1968.

For Christmas Eve, it gives the liturgical services (not private devotions, in spite of the title) of Great Compline, Litija,  and Matins.  The Great Compline portion of the booklet is highly abbreviated, and in fact is almost exactly what was published in English by Father William Levkulic as the Christ is Born! booklet in 1969.  (The Grigassy booklet is in Slavonic, with a parallel English translation; at its original publication in 1947, the English would not have been used in church.)

But today the second part of the booklet is of particular interest: the “devotions for New Year” consist of a Moleben of Thanksgiving, returning thanks to God for all that has taken place in the year just ending, and a Panachida, praying for all those who have died. You can find the Moleben of Thanksviging here on the MCI website.

It seems to me that we would all benefit from such a service as the year ends, and I hope to promote its celebration next December.

At the back of the booklet is a short collection of spiritual songs for Christmas:

  • Silent Night / Jasna Zorja
  • Nebo i Zem’la
  • Božij Syn Dnes’
  • Divnaja Novina
  • Nova Radost’ Stala
  • Vselennaja Veselisja
  • Radost Sja Nam Javl’ajet
  • Nyňi Adam Vozveselisja
  • Anhel Pastyrjam ‘Zv’istil
  • Čas Radosti, Veselosti
  • Dar Ňyňi Prebohatyj

The songs in bold face were included in Christ is Born! and the 1978 Divine Liturgies book and have remained parish favorites, while the others have largely fallen out of use.  (You can find Nyňi Adam Vozveselisja and Vselennaja Veselisja, along with new, singable English translations, in the proposed hymnal.)

And for New Years:

Both of these are still sung in our parishes – and both have additional verses here which will be included in the proposed hymnal.  (We have English translations of the new verses for Vs’i T’a chory, and are working on them for Blahodarim Boha particularly worthwhile because this is one of our only hymns to God the Father.)

May God bless your New Year!

 

 

A Christmas present: Three new Cherubic Hymn settings in English

It has been more than 12 years since the promulgation of our present Divine Liturgies book, and what looked like an enormous number of musical settings of the Cherubic Hymn (ten of them!) now make up the basic repertoire in many parishes.

With than in mind – and considering the enormous number of such settings in Slavonic – I would like to offer the three possibilities for new settings in English, to give us greater opportunities to expand our plain chant in English, making use of Slavonic melodies which are already well know.   I hope to teach these at the eparchial workshops planned for next year, and they are also keyed to the versions of the base hymns in the Hymnal Project (which will also be covered at next year’s workshops).

Continue reading “A Christmas present: Three new Cherubic Hymn settings in English”

A Book of Hours for our church

For our round of daily liturgical prayer, there are a lot of possible needs: books for clergy and people, church and home, with or without music. Until now, it’s taken a LOT of work to find pray-able editions of these books, especially ones that use our translations and music.

Earlier this year, the Seminary Press asked me to prepare new editions of the MCI Sunday Matins and Vespers books, and perhaps add new books for daily services.  Instead, I’ve submitted a proposal for a full set of books for the Divine Praises – one which I think will meet quite a few different needs.

Here is the proposal as it stands.  I hope to begin working on it later this month.

1. Service book for Vespers (done): clergy texts, complete rubrics, with details for Sunday evenings in Lent, Great and Holy Friday, and Vespers with Divine Liturgy.

2. Service book for Matins: clergy texts, complete rubrics, with details for Paschal Matins

3. Horologion, Vol. 1: The Greater Hours: Vespers and Matins for church or home, ordinary + octoechos (partial for Matins) + commons of saints – basically enough to do SOME sort of Vespers and Matins on any ordinary day

4. Horologion, Vol 2: The Lesser Hours: Hours and Compline for church or home – ordinary + troparia/kontakia  for the year – enough to do Hours and Compline on almost any day of the year.

5. Horologion, Vol 3 (maybe): Midnight Office, with octoechos

6. Musical supplements for Vespers, Matins, and Hours: one book each (the previous books are WITHOUT music, except for a very few things like O Joyful Light; instead, texts are pointed for chanting) – Vespers, Matins, Hours and Compline on any ordinary Sunday or weekday could be sung using just one supplement

7. Liturgical Psalter

8. Prayer book (material from the Horologion not included above: morning and evening prayers, Akathists, Paraklis, Molebens, preparation for Confession and Communion, explanation of the Jesus Prayer)

What do you think?

Draft hymnal is done!

The draft version of the new hymnal is complete (for now) and has been sent to the Inter-Eparchial Music Commission for their review and improvement.

Here is the version that was submitted: Hymnal – draft – 2019-11

Formatting will be cleaned up a bit more before publication. In the meantime, if you find any errors or infelicities, please let me know and I will make sure they are fixed in the final version.

What are “samohlasen” and “podoben” melodies?

If you look at the liturgical calendar on the MCI website, you will sometimes seen two sets of music for Vespers, with one of them labelled “samohlasen.” What does this mean, and which  set of music should you choose?

Continue reading “What are “samohlasen” and “podoben” melodies?”

First draft of hymnal is available!

After a year of work on the Hymnal Project, and a great deal of input from cantors (thank you all!), the first formatted draft of the new hymnal is available:

Hymnal – draft – 2019-09

I think you will be happy with the results;  there  are some new additions, many old favorites, and I THINK we have corrected most most of the places where the music seemed a bit off. I have incorporated all comments i have  received to date, including some very valuable feedback from the annual Labor Day pilgrimage to Mount Saint Macrina.

If you are interested in our paraliturgical hymns and spiritual songs, I would greatly appreciate it if you could:

  • Download the draft hymnal
  • Look it over and see if:
    • anything is missing that should be there
    • you find any typos or obvious mistakes.

Initial versions of all entries are pretty much settled EXCEPT for an alternate, somewhat more complicated version of Rejoice,  O purest Queen (Radujsja Carice), which was requested by cantor Joseph Ferenchick, it can be found in English and Slavonic after page 59 (and if we use it, several other hymns like O Father Nicholas would likely change to the more intricate version).

In three weeks, I plan to send the hymnal to the Inter-Eparchial Music Commission for their review and any changes, so please let me know what you find before then!  Also, if you have questions about anything in the draft hymnal, please leave them in a comment below.

New Marian Hymnal UPDATED!

Several cantors have reported single-note errors in the following hymns

All the faithful come before you
Christijane, proslavl’ajme

Sing with joy and pray together
Palomniki Uniontowns’ki

Virgin Mother, Intercessor
D’ivo Mati zastupaj nas

which have been corrected in an updated version of the “New Marian Hymnal” on the MCI website:

https://mci.archpitt.org/sheetmusic/New_Marian_Hymnal.pdf

The corrected version has a date on the title page of August 31, 2019;  if you find errors in your copy, please check the updated version to see if they are already fixed!