It has now been
- 70 years since church first began celebrating services in English
- 55 years since the first official chant settings in English
- 12 years since the release of our current Divine Liturgies book, which our bishops promulgated in order to have a common format of the Liturgy across our entire church
It seems to me that it is time to take a serious look at our plain chant, and how we sing it in worship. That is the purpose of this blog series, Our Plain Chant. I hope it can serve as way to spread knowledge of our chant, how we use it, and how we can improve our church singing while maintaining our tradition of sung congregational worship.
Why a series?
The Metropolitan Cantor Institute website has a wealth of material about individual plain chant melodies, and how to sing services. But because it is an instructional site, we have stayed away from presenting a lot of historical background, or any critical commentary on our chant and how we sing it. I hope that this series will let us provide some of this background, AND enable cantors to contribute to the discussion.
Many of the issues that affect our church singing are common to a range of melodies, so I am going to first look at the shared issues that we face whenever we sing, THEN look at particular chant melodies and services.
With each blog post, I hope to include a recording which I consider to be of value in understanding our chant.
Here is a complete recording of the Divine Liturgy for the 25th ordination anniversary of Bishop (later Archbishop) Stephen Kocisko, celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel in Passaic, New Jersey, in 1966. This is one of our best recorded examples of the sound of our congregational singing.