What is the Metropolitan Cantor Institute?
The Metropolitan Cantor Institute exists to support and foster liturgical singing in the Byzantine Catholic Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh. At the direction of our bishops, and in cooperation with our 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.
The mission of the Metropolitan Cantor Institute:
To ensure that each parish in the Byzantine Catholic Church has a cantor who can lead the liturgical singing of the parish well, to the glory of God and in support of the prayer of the faithful.
For more information, click on Cantor Institute in the left-hand navigation bar on this page.
Cantor conference calls (using Skype) in January
Beginning in January, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute will be hosting a weekly conference call over the Internet, using Skype. This will give cantors an opportunity to ask questions about upcoming services or our plain chant, discuss chant issues in our church, and provide suggestions and ideas for upcoming Cantor Institute classes.
The calls will be held on Thursdays in January beginning on January 8, from 9:00 to 9:30 PM, Eastern time. If you will be taking part, please sent your Skype ID to email@example.com on the day of the call, and I will add you once the call begins. If we reach the limit of 25 participants for a call, any additional participants will be set up for a second call beginning at 9:30.
At the end of January, we will decide whether this program should be continued.
Two radio programs from 2006 by former MCI director J. Michael Thompson are now available for download and listening:
We would like to start a regular Cantor Institute podcast - what would you like to hear about? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MCI Distance Learning Program to start in January
To meet the needs of cantors and prospective cantors far from the Pittsburgh area – and to provide additional resources to local cantors as well – the Metropolitan Cantor Institute has created a distance learning program, which we call MCI Online. Using a computer connected to the Internet, students will be able to view lessons on their own schedule, take quizzes to test their knowledge, and gain access to other instructional materials (including copyrighted materials we cannot simply post on the MCI website).
How do I get started?
- Students who register for the full year of MCI classes are automatically enrolled in MCI Online.
- Cantors outside the Pittsburgh area who wish to enroll in MCI Online (only) can do so for $60 per year. This fee allows access to all online cantor classes AND a certain amount of individualized instruction (coaching, assistance with difficulties, etc.)
Use of MCI Online requires a computer with access to the Internet, a Web browser, and speakers or headphones. Older computers may not support all MCI Online features. Information about MCI Online will be sent to students upon enrollment. See this brochure for registration information.
Table of Contents for the Divine Liturgies book
The Metropolitan Cantor Institute is happy to provide a complete table of contents for the The Divine Liturgies of our holy fathers John Chrysostom and Basil the Great. It can be printed on a single sheet of legal size paper. Cantor Robert Pipta of Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church, Anaheim, CA (whose work it is) suggests: "Fold in half, trim the edges and it fits into the pewbook. I carefully used a small drop of super glue to hold the TOC in place in the pew book between pages 2 and 3."
Divine Liturgy book in Church Slavonic - with music
Also from Anaheim is a 40-page service book for the Divine Liturgy in Church Slavonic, with music throughout, following the pattern of the English-language Divine Liturgies book, and including rubrics for the people in English. This book is ideal for cantors who celebrate some or all of the Divine Liturgy in Slavonic.
Like most service books from the MCI, this booklet is set up to print 2-up (that is, two pages per sheet, side by side) on legal size paper. If you want a version of the file that is already set up for printing on legal paper, open the file you want in a web browser, and add "_booklet" immediately before ".pdf" in the URL. This will take you to a "camera-ready" version.
Be sure to visit the Official Publications page to see all our contributed materials for use with the official Divine Liturgies book.
Vespers - with Sister Vassa
Cantors might be interested in several recent 10-minute videocasts by Sister Vassa Larin, a Russian Orthodox nun and liturgical scholar. (There are from the series Coffee with Sister Vassa, which usual begins with some chattiness before getting down to business. But the content is quite worthwhile for anyone interested in Vespers.)
- Sister Vassa - Introduction to Vespers
- Sister Vassa - Introduction to Vespers, Part 2
- Sister Vassa - The Vespers hymn, "Vouchsafe, O Lord"
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.
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!
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!