Christ is risen!
Cantor Institute Announces Summer Courses
This year, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute will hold several new courses aimed at ensuring that each parish in the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh has a cantor who is familiar with all our services and qualified to lead our church singing, to the glory of God and in support of our church's prayer.
On June 6-8, the first Beginning Cantor's Course will be held at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary. This intensive weekend course will cover the vocation of the cantor and the hymns of the Divine Liturgy, and is intended to enable anyone with an adequate singing voice and sense of pitch to become an assistant cantor. In the past, this material was spread out over an entire year. With the new weekend format, we hope to better serve prospective cantors from outside the Pittsburgh area, and reduce the time necessary to bring new cantors into the Archeparchy's cantor education program.
The registration fee for the course is $225, which include room and board from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, and all instructional materials. Students who complete the course will be matched with mentors (more experienced cantors) in their area, and can enroll in future Cantor Institute courses. (flyer with registration info)
All serving cantors of the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh are invited to a one-day refresher course on the Divine Liturgy on Saturday, July 12, from 9 AM to 3 PM. This course will take a deeper look at the music in the green Divine Liturgies book and how to use it more effectively in parish settings; it will also cover the other educational opportunities being made available for cantors in the Byzantine Catholic Church this year.
There is no charge for this one-day course, which which includes meals and materials; we ask only that cantors who plan to attend register in advance. (flyer)
Current lectors (church readers) AND CANTORS are encouraged to attend a one-day Epistle Reader's Day on Saturday, August 16, from 9 AM to 3 PM. This refresher course will provide a review of the role of the church reader; the basics of chanting the Epistle; and vocal coaching to help improve your ability to chant the Scriptures and lead the congregational in the chanting of psalms. The registration fee for this course is $15, which includes lunch and materials. (flyer)
All three courses will be held at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary, 3605 Perrysville Avenue, Pittsburgh PA. Registration forms and additional details will be posted on this website. Questions? Write to email@example.com, or call MCI director Jeffrey Mierzejewski at (412) 735-1676.
Topics for Upcoming MCI Classes
Beginning in September, the Cantor Institute will hold monthly Saturday classes in Pittsburgh. Here are the topics as currently planned:
- September - Celebrating the Feasts of the Liturgical Year
- October - The Office of Vespers
- November - The Eight Tones
- December - The Feasts of Christmas and Theophany
- January - Paraliturgical Hymns and Spiritual Songs
- February - Reader Services and Typika
- March - The Feasts of the Mother of God
- April - Vocal workshop
- May - Singing the Bapismal, Wedding, and Anointing services
Metropolitan Cantor Institute announces plans for 2014
The following plan was approved by Metropolitan William on January 3, 2014. Further details will be announced here as they become available.
The Metropolitan Cantor Institute exists to support and foster liturgical singing in the Byzantine Catholic Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh. Under the direction of the bishops, and in cooperation with clergy and experienced cantors, the Institute trains and certifies cantors for the service of the church, prepares music and educational materials, and provides workshops and seminars in church singing.
All work of the Institute is oriented toward the worship and mission of the Byzantine Catholic Church. All music and service books prepared by the Institute are entirely provisional until promulgated by the Council of Hierarchs, and the Institute’s activity within each Eparchy must be approved by the eparchial bishop.
With input from cantors and clergy, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute has prepared a set of certification standards for cantors. These standards are set intentionally high, so that a cantor who meets them should be able to dependably lead the singing in any of our parishes for the normal services celebrated throughout the liturgical year.
The Institute is committed to providing education and assistance in support of these standards. Each eparchial bishop, however, actually grants any certification of cantors for his eparchy.
Beginning in 2014, the Institute will work with the distance education director of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary to provide online educational materials in support of in-person cantor training. We will develop a way to assess cantors' learning for their own benefit, and to track cantor-student progress. These materials will be available to all cantors and trainee-cantors in the Byzantine Catholic Church. They are intended to assist, NOT REPLACE, in-person instruction.
When a new funeral book is available, we will hold workshops in the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh on its implementation, and make the workshop materials available to the other eparchies. We will use this to validate the combination of distance education and in-person classes.
This summer, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute will hold a 3-day "Cantor's Boot Camp" in the Pittsburgh area, and repeat it in one of the other eparchies (probably on the East or West coast, as seems most appropriate to the Council of Hierarchs). This course will be essentially equivalent to the first year of the Cantor Institute program (on the Divine Liturgy), but will depend on the development of local mentoring relationships for the cantors who take the course so that they can continue their education when they go home.
In the Fall of 2014, the Institute will resume regular monthly classes for cantors, focusing on the subjects NOT taught in the "Cantor's Boot Camp." The aim of these classes is to provide a program that allows cantors to attain certification in one summer, plus three years. Between now and the end of the summer, the Institute will work with the other eparchies to establish relationships that will make it possible to replicate these courses in the other eparchies. Distance education, advance planning, and continuing mentoring are the keys to this effort.
Identifying and Honoring our Cantors
In 1974, for its fiftieth anniversary, the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh honored all its cantors, current and retired, in the context of the St. Nicholas Dinner, at which the program booklet included photos and brief biographies of each cantor.
For the 90th anniversary, in 2014, we would like to honor the cantors of the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh in a similar fashion, and encourage the other eparchies to do likewise. This has the potential to bear fruit for years to come in increased awareness of and respect for our church singing and its practitioners.
The chancery will be contacting each parish in the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh in order to compile a current list of our cantors.
Integrating Church Singing into Parish Renewal
Several priests in the Metropolia have already begun programs among the faithful to enliven the liturgical singing in their own parishes. This year, the Institute will evaluate these programs and work to implement them more broadly.
For more information, contact the newly-appointed director of the Metropoilitan Cantor Institute, Jeff Mierzejewski, at (412) 735-1657, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Documenting the history of our church music - how you can help
The Metropolitan Cantor Institute is working with the Byzantine Catholic Seminary Library to put together material to document the history of the liturgical music of the Byzantine Catholic Church, both plain chant and choral music. Earlier this year, Metropolitan William put out a request to clergy to help in this effort.
Later this year, we will be posting a list of particular items we are looking for, as well as some scanned images that we could use help identifying.
We are also interested in recordings. Here is our working list current list of Greek Catholic plain chant and choral recordings done in the United States:
If you have additional information about any of the recordings in this list (or if you have access to copies of recordings that the seminary does not yet have), please contact us!
Unfortunately, we were unable to hold a Cantors' Day of Recollection this year, and so we are providing here the talks from last year's retreat, which was given at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Munhall, PA.
- 2012 Cantor's Retreat - morning session (40 minutes)
- 2012 Cantor's Retreat - afternoon session (45 minutes)
Both talks about by Fr. David Mastroberte, a priest of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese.
A number of electronic mailing lists are available for Byzantine Catholic cantors and those interested in church music. Click on the name of the group to sign up.
|mcinews||Announcements of cantor education opportunities in the Byzantine Catholic Church|
|mcicantors||Open discussion list for cantors to discuss Byzantine liturgy, plain chant, and congregational leadership.|
|mcichoral||Open discussion list for choir directors, choir members, and those interested in choral music|
|mcimusicfiles||Monthly distribution of sheet music from the Metropolitan Cantor Institute|
These lists will eventually replace the under-used Forum on this website. Each list is archived, so older posts can be viewed and searched. Please sign up for the lists of interest to you!