St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Monastery in South Canaan, PA, hosted PaTRAM’s 1st Annual Young Singers’ Conference this past Memorial Day weekend. This course provided participants with the opportunity to learn more about the beautiful tradition of Orthodox choral singing. All in a hands-on, intensive classroom setting. The Conference was initiated as a 3-day music workshop, but it was so much more than a choral workshop. Being a part of this course, having the opportunity to sing with the Chamber Choir in a monastery setting at a hierarchal service, and venerate the Iveron Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos with St. Tikhon’s monks and pilgrims is not an opportunity everyone is blessed with, especially a youthful group such as our own.
Under the direction of our faculty Dr. Peter Jermihov, Dr. Irina Raizanova, and Katya Lukianova students worked together in faith and harmony to become one unified choir. This Memorial weekend marked the monastery’s 112th pilgrimage. We debuted at the all night vigil and Memorial Day hierarchal liturgy under His Beatitude, Tikhon, Metropolitan of all America and Canada, His Eminence, the Most Reverend Benjamin, Archbishop of San Francisco, the Diocese of the West, His Eminence, the Most Reverend Michael, Seminary Rector and Archbishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, and His Grace, the Right Reverend Thomas, Bishop of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic Diocese of the Antiochian Archdiocese. PaTRAM’s workshop allowed students to soak up important musical knowledge while appreciating the power of Orthodoxy with words from Archimandrite Sergius, St. Tikhon’s Monastery Igumen, and lectures on “The Purpose of Singing in Divine Worship” by Fr. John Whiteford, St. Jonah Orthodox Church, Spring, Texas and “What is Prayerful Singing, and What Does It Sound Like?” by Dr. Peter Jermihov.
As a non-profit organization we plan to expand our course offerings well into the future through our official mission, “to facilitate the North American practice and cultivation of Russian Orthodox liturgical choral singing in both English and Slavonic on the highest levels of spiritual depth and professionalism.” We have many more events and opportunities for growth, learning and renewing musical faith ahead. God willing, our Labor Day conference will be held at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. This particular course, Young Singers’ Conference, is another first-rate program aimed at providing outstanding training to every Orthodox church musician for ages 15-40, regardless of their resources. We offer limited full tuition scholarships and still have a few available. Apply today by contacting Sanya Lukianov (firstname.lastname@example.org). If accepted, PaTRAM covers your course training and materials, lodging, meals, weekend transportation, and weekend excursion! Participants only need to cover the transportation to get to the event. This offer is unlike any other opportunity in church music continuing education! Scholarship application requirements differ for each event but typically consist of a letter of recommendation from your parish priest, a letter of recommendation from your choir director (or fellow church musician) and/or an application essay.
The success of PaTRAM will depend on the input and collaboration of many talented individuals who share our perspective: that the role of the choir in Orthodox worship is an integral part of the services which must enhance the prayer of both parishioners and clergy. We pray that God, through the intercessions of St Tikhon, will bless
PaTRAM and all those who join us. You can help us by keeping our efforts in your prayers by spreading the word about PaTRAM to all those interested in the growth and improvement of Orthodox liturgical singing in North America and by supporting our programs with your contribution.
Listen to “The Purpose of Singing in Divine Worship” by Fr. John Whiteford