It’s been twelve full years since the new Divine Liturgy books were published and distributed, and fifteen years since the MCI began regularly distributing music for liturgical services. With that in mind, I am planning on making a few changes in the coming year.
Communion Hymns – starting in 2005, the MCI distributed music for liturgical Communion Hymn of the day using a full assortment of the various Cherubic Hymn melodies, in order to help cantors and congregations learn them. But we are long past that point, and so in the New Year, the MCI will only print the TEXT of the Communion Hymn(s) of the day, allowing the cantor free choice of which melody to use. The exception for now will be a few feast days where the green book has a very specific seasonal melody to use; for now, these will be left in the propers.
Remember that the Cantor’s Companion has a table of ALL the Communion Hymns, and where they can be found in the Divine Liturgies book to each of the different Cherubic Hymn melodies. You can also use this handout.
Vespers – the current MCI Vespers books were prepared in 2005-2006, and don’t always match the texts, music and rubrics in our 2007 Divine Liturgies book and 2010 Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts book. In the coming year, ALL the MCI Vespers books will be getting a much needed revision to match official texts and correct various typos and infelicities which have been noted over the years. Stay tuned!
The Hymnal Project – this will continue through 2019, and with luck a draft will go to the Music Commission next Fall. Watch the blog!
The Harmonization Project – as part of our work toward chant and church music revitalization, in January we will be launching a project to make available harmonized (3- and 4-part) settings of plain chant and spiritual songs, along with materials to help teach and learn choral singing in church.
New music – there is at least some music which we might fruitfully introduce, now that most parishes are used to what is in our Divine Liturgies books (after ten years, I can’t call them new!). For example, there are settings of the Cherubic Hymn into English which might be added to our repertoire, as well as complete collections of all the Communion Hymns set to each melody. This will probably be a project for later in the year, but I would welcome your thoughts and suggestions.
Online classes – these will continue. The introductory courses in liturgy and church singing can be taken for free, and I am adding one in the history of our chant. The remaining courses follow a regular schedule, and can be completed in two years from beginning to end, at a cost of about $35 per month. Classes on reading in church, the liturgical year, and music for the Great Fast start on January 7. See the classes page for more information.
As you can see, we have a lot going on – but the goal here is the glorification of God through the singing and worship in our parishes. Christ is born!