Our New Choirs

So I apologize for being to quiet the last few days but, as you might imagine, things have been rather busy with the start of the new semester and getting settled back at the seminary.  But now things have started to calm down (a bit) so I can hopefully continue writing on a regular basis about the exciting topics you know and love!  And by exciting topics I mean the usual stuff I write about which, to be honest, probably only really interests me.

Being Sunday, today saw me driving out to my parish assignment, St. Stephen’s in Springfield, for Mass.  It was the second Sunday of our new regime and it went quite well, even though attendance was a little down (probably due to the weather, attendance is weird like that) but we still had  lovely service.  One of the best parts about being the choir director and organist at a parish is that I pick the hymns so we sang one of my favorite hymns today, Be Still My Soul (Tune: Finlandia).  After Mass we had our monthly parish council meeting which went smoothly and was rather enjoyable.

The really exciting part about today was that it was the parish’s first Sunday with our newly formed choir.  While it is small (four people) it is going to be grand, I’m sure.  Unfortunately, due to time constraints we weren’t able to go through everything I wanted but next week we’ll be singing our first motet during communion so I’m happy.  I’m going to figure out a way to get a regular choir rehearsal of a decent length every week, but at the moment I’m just thankful that we have people interested in singing!

After the drive home I had a little time to kill so I sat around in the lounge with one of the new Holy Cross guys and chatted before walking over to the chapel for the Byzantine Chant choir rehearsal for the Feast of the Holy Cross.  It’s the patronal feast of the seminary so it’s always a big deal, the archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese comes for it (as well as other bishops, usually) and we have Great Vespers on Monday night with the awarding of the school cross to those seminarians (both in the college and the graduate school) who have completed one year of studies as a “probationary seminarian” and have been accepted into the seminarian program.  The Archbishop also blesses seniors in Holy Cross to wear the exorasson, which is a flowing black robe with wide sleeves.  The exorasson signifies that they have the right to preach, as well as other things, but the preaching is the main one.

As one of the assistant chant group leaders I’m part of the Byzantine chant choir that chants the services for the feast, so the Byz. chant professor, Prof. Karanos, wanted us to go over everything before hand (very wise).  So now we should be good to go.  Let me tell you, it was a great experience.  Over the last number of years I’ve only provided ison (a drone note to the chant, which is more difficult to do well than it sounds) but this year I’m chanting “mellos” or “melody” and I’m really having a lot of fun doing it.  It’s a lot of work but very worth it, especially since a number of my friends are seniors in the grad school this year and thus will be getting their exorasso.  *tears up*  Should be grand.

So that’s kind of it in the way of news, I think I’ll close here by saying that there will probably lots of pictures and even recordings coming this way on the blog in the next few days from the feast.  What’s really fun is that I’ll be chanting at Monday night Great Vespers, Tuesday morning’s Divine Liturgy, and then driving out to Springfield for Mass for the Feast of The Cross at my parish assignment.  I’m definitely going to need to take a PLN (Post-liturgical nap) after liturgy Tuesday morning…

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