Planning for Next Year: What would you like to see?
Since the Metropolitan Cantor Institute now meets monthly, we would be interested in knowing what you would like to see taught. What do you want to learn next year? What could you use help with?
Please send your thoughts, comments, and suggestions to email@example.com.
The Christmas Fast
The Christmas Fast, in preparation for the feast of the Nativity on December 25, is one of the minor fasts of the Church. This fast of forty days was introduced in the 12th century. Counting back 40 days from the feast of the Nativity, the fast begins on the evening of November 14 - the feast of the holy apostle Phillip. As a result, it is traditionally called Phillip's Fast or the Phillipian Fast (in Slavonic, Filipovka). (more)
The Emmanuel Moleben
In many places, it has become traditional to celebrate a devotional service called a moleben during the pre-Christmas fast. This service is not one of the fixed daily offices, like Vespers or the Divine Liturgy, and so it can be celebrated at any time of the day, and on any day of the week. This particular moleben uses the pre-festal hymns of the Nativity, and readings like those of the Royal Hours. Several different versions of this service are presently in use in the Byzantine Catholic Church. All of them emphasize the message of preparation for the Nativity - "Come, Lord Jesus!" - and the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah.
This service can be used occasionally or weekly throughout the Christmas Fast, to help the faithful prepare for the coming feast. The version prepared by the Metropolitan Cantor Institute consists of a people's book, and a supplement containing the clergy's part of the service, and the readings.
To assist cantors and clergy in learning the service, here are recordings of the two unique parts of the service, the Exaltation and the Divine Praises, along with the responses at the Gospel.
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.
Classes for Fall 2014
Each month, the Cantor Institute holds a regular class in Pittsburgh on church singing and chant leadership. The classes run from 9 AM to 3 PM and cover liturgy, use of the voice, leadership skills for cantors, and chant repertoire. Here are the classes scheduled for the remainder of 2014:
- September 6 - Celebrating the Feasts of the Liturgical Year
Feasts in the Byzantine Rite. How the different cycles of the liturgical year fit together, and how the Divine Liturgy changes for feast days, especially when a feast falls on Sunday. Chant to be covered: the music in the Divine Liturgies book for the fixed feast days of the liturgical year.
- October 4 - The Office of Vespers
All cantors should know the basics of celebrating Vespers, especially since the special services for Lent, Holy Week, Christmas and Theophany make use of parts of this service. This one-day course will cover the layout of Vespers, the core hymns of the service, and the general rules for the use of the Vespers tones.
- November 1 - The Eight Tones
A one-day course on the melodies for troparia, kontakia, prokeimena, and stichera in all eight tones. The course will teach each of these melodies, along with techniques to memorize them and sing them easily and effectively.
- December 6 – Feasts of Christmas and Theophany
Music for the services of Christmas and Theophany: the vigil service for each feast (and the midnight service for Christmas), the feast-day Divine Liturgies, and the chants for the Sundays before and after each feast.
This fall, all classes will be held at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary, 3605 Perrysville Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15214.
Tuition for the entire series of four classes is $40.00, which includes lunch and materials. To register, just fill out and return the registration form by September 1. If registering after September 1, please contact MCI director Jeffrey Mierzejewski at (412) 735-1676 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Cantor Institute tuition can be paid with your registration, or before the start of the first class. Make checks payable to Archeparchy of Pittsburgh.
Tentive topics for 2015:
- 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 Baptismal, Wedding, and Anointing services
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!
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!