OK, so I just realized we never published a wrap-up of the 2018 summer school for cantors (July 23-27) – here it is!
Monday and Tuesday
The first two days were for our new cantors only. We covered the basics of singing:
- The role of the cantor
- The basics of musical sound
- First steps in singing: posture, warming up, breathing, and resonance
- Musical notation
- A short history of our chant
For the first time, we were able to video-record each lesson by our voice teacher, Shawn Daly, and match them up to the printed materials we use for the online class.
Every day also included voice lessons for each student, and the celebration of Compline. On Tuesday evening, we started on the basics of leading chant instead of just singing it.
This was the hinge day in the week: the last day for the beginning students, and the first day for the advanced students, with shared classes between the two groups. We opened with the Divine Liturgy and breakfast, then covered:
- Learning resources for cantors
- Vocal articulation: making our singing clear and understandable
- Discussion: Where do we sing in church?
- Singing in harmony (using the Akathist hymn)
- Dealing with problems in plain chant leadership
After Vespers, we had supper together at a local restaurant, and said good-bye to the beginning students.
Thursday and Friday
These two days were for current serving cantors. Classes included:
- Singing the Hours and Compline
- Voice lessons: Resonance (achieving a good vocal sound)
- An update on the status of our liturgical and chant books
- Singing Hierarchical Services
- What to do when the bishop comes (with Fr. Valerian Michlick)
- Prayer for Cantors
We also celebrated Great Vespers for the feast of St. Pantaleimon.
We had a total of seven students, and look forward to having more next year! Many thanks to Saints Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh for accommodating the program; it was particularly good to be able to accommodate both male and female students in private rooms at the seminary throughout the week.