During the coming year, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute will be focusing on three things:
- Developing new cantors, and encouraging inactive cantors to become active in their parishes
- Providing opportunities to allow every cantor to become better at leading our church singing, and singing it well
- Encouraging the lay faithful to “sing with understanding” by providing introductions to the basics of singing, liturgy, and chant
Here’s what we plan to do.
Starting in January, we will make three online courses available for free to anyone in the Byzantine Catholic Church: Becoming a Cantor, Becoming a Reader, and Plainchant of the Byzantine Catholic Church (a history course). Individuals who desire to take additional courses for cantors and readers will be able to enroll in the full MCI program for $85 per year; this will include access to the complete cantor education program, including cantor certification.
The program will be aimed at allowing new cantors to become certified in three years of self-paced online classes, along with either in-person training in Pittsburgh, or local mentoring arrangements with an experienced cantor or priest. Current cantors can use the program to expand and deepen their knowledge of our services and chant.
On Sunday, January 10, we will be starting a weekly podcast entitled Chant Notes, discussing the liturgical services of the coming week and their music. We would also like to feature recordings by our cantors and choirs as part of this podcast, so please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in contributing!
On Thursday, February 11, from 7-9 PM, the MCI will give a presentation on Music of the Great Fast at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Munhall, covering both Lenten services and traditional Lenten hymns.
On Thursday, March 3, from 7-9 PM, there will be a presentation at the cathedral on Music of Holy Week and Annunciation – particularly timely for 2016, when the feast of the Annunciation will fall on Great and Holy Friday.
Both presentations are free and open to the public. Materials will be provided, and both sessions will be streamed live on the Internet.
Other opportunities for cantors
We are planning a cantor’s picnic for June, and possibly a general meeting of our cantors later this summer. Over the past few years, there have been fewer opportunities for cantors to get together, and I would like to reverse this trend.
I am also hoping to meet with the cantors in each deanery to discuss our cantor education program, and begin cooperative work with the Eparchies of Passaic, Parma, and Phoenix.
In addition to a Daily Matins book, we hope to assemble prayer materials for cantors, a liturgical Psalter, and books for the Hours (normal, Lenten, and Paschal). My eventual goal is an English edition of the Sbornik, with liturgical texts for the entire calendar year in one volume, suitable for use both an home and in church. Potential projects include an online lectionary, with Scripture readings for each day, and smartphone apps for the daily readings and typikon.
Meantime, the Liturgical Commission and Council of Hierarchs continue to work on materials for the holy mysteries and the funeral services, and the MCI will provide classes on these when they become available.
Questions? Comments? Please post them here!