During the Eastern American Diocese Pastoral Conference October 21st-23rd, PaTRAM Institute held a Master Class for Male Choir with Grammy-nominated Maestro Vladimir Gorbik. The conference and the Master Class took place at Holy Trinity Monastery (HTM) in Jordanville, NY. These events coincided with the EAD’s celebration of the 35th anniversary of Metropolitan Hilarion’s consecration to the episcopate and in the presence of the Wonder working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign, and the Myrrh-Streaming Iveron Icon of the Mother of God of Hawaii. The Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God has returned from her pilgrimage abroad, which included the time spent traveling with the PaTRAM Institute Male Choir in Saratov, Russia. In Saratov alone this beautiful icon was venerated by more than 18,000 faithful!
Participants in the Master Class had the opportunity to work with Maestro Vladimir Gorbik in a small group setting and sing alongside Deacon Nicholas Kotar and the Holy Trinity Seminarians. Maestro Gorbik’s presence was immediately felt, and the choir was able to improve its fundamentals and performance even after only several rehearsals. An unexpected high point of the Master Class was the presence of Fr. Silouan Toumanov, one of Deacon Nicholas Kotar’s favorite composers, at the EA Diocese conference as a participant. Fr Silouan happened to walk in on the choir practicing an Anaphora that he had written about ten years ago. At the conclusion of the piece, he approached the choir and graciously admitted that when he wrote it, he didn’t imagine it could sound so beautiful.
The Master Class culminated with the male choir singing Tuesday evening’s All Night Vigil and Wednesday’s Hierarchal Divine Liturgy. The choir was co-directed by Vladimir Gorbik and Deacon Nicholas Kotar, seminary choir director and lecturer in church music. The Liturgy was officiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion and His Grace Bishop Luka. During the Liturgy, the chant “Grace of the World” was performed in the presence of its author, composer Fr. Siluan.
In 2020, PaTRAM Institute is planning another Master Class designed for the Male Choir. Maestro Gorbik will also hold four Master Classes for the Seminarians at Holy Trinity Seminary.
Thanks also to Deacon Michael Pavuk and Deacon Nicholas Kotar for their contributions to this article.