St. Andrew Church Choir

May 3, 2020: Sunday of the Myhrrbearing Women

Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!

Hristos Anesti

St. Andrew Virtual Choir

St. Andrew Church Choir

Patrice Dalianis, Steve Hastalis, Peter Jermihov, Presbytera Kiki Kalomas, Demetri Kotsinis, Georgia Kotsinis, Maria Kotsinis, Tracey Lazos, Dennis Polite, Lee Polite, Nikolas Polite, Peggy Papaioannou, Irina Riazanova-Jermihov, Cindy Tsaoussis, Marylin Tzakis & Tina Yarovsky


Slavica Lazareska, Sergey Furmanov, David Sekicky, Jelena Stojakovic & Theodore Zajler

The Choir members video-recorded themselves singing these Paschal Hymns–Tin Anastasin & Hristos Anesti–using a click track from their homes. The audio files of the recordings were then separated and mixed by Nikolas Polite, a member of the choir; the video files were prepared by Daniel Stojanov. This was our way of connecting with each other and making a musical offering for the Pascha of Our Lord. (We are not concerned with the quality of the product in some abstract world of musical perfection, we are concerned with what is in our hearts.)

Христосъ воскресе! Воистину воскресе!


Rehearsals via Zoom Conferencing

May 10

Orthodox hymnography

Kodaly hand signals

Review of vocal technique basics (from previous weeks)

Breathing Technique

Topic: St. Andrew Choir Rehearsal

Time: May 10, 2020 12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 761 9644 7838

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May 3


Continuation of basics of good diction

Basics of expressive singing

April 26


Classification of consonants

Basics of good diction

April 12


Facial posture, inside smile

Continuation of vowel production

Virtual choir review

From April 5

Lower abdominal breathing called diaphragmatic breathing–no shoulder movement, high rib position

Connection of breathing to tone production

Efficient breathing

Use of full vocal capacity through proper breathing

From March 29


Vowel purity and placement of: ee, eh, ah, oh, oo

Connection of vowels through sustained tone (legato singing)

Jaw & tongue in relaxed & neutral position, mouth open


Christ is risen! Truly, He is risen!



1) Study and further familiarize yourselves with the 6 categories of hymns according to their content (listed below). If you have the time & interest, find other hymns that fit the various categtories.

2) Listen to and read "The Sound of Hagia Sophia" material below.

3) Study and further familiarize yourselves with the Kodaly Hand Signals and the major scale.

4) Prepare to sing ONE HYMN OR SONG–it can be a church hymn or a secular song–anything that you feel you would like to share with the choir; it can be as short as 30-60 seconds but not longer than 2 minutes. The purpose of this assignment is to connect what one loves and feels in one's heart with musical expression.

St. Basil the Great Speaks

"Inasmuch as the Holy Spirit knows that it is difficult to lead mankind toward virtue, that because of our inclination towards pleasure we are negligent of the path of righteousness, what does He do? To instruction He adds the pleasantness of sweet singing (Μελωδία), so that together with what is delightful and harmonious to the ear we might receive in an imperceptible fashion that which is beneficial in the word. To this end the harmonious hymns of the psalms have been invented for us..."

With these words, St. Basil affirms the rightful place of the musical element in worship and binds the "the Melody" to the text in an inextricable way. By so doing, He places before the church singer and musician the challenge of understanding the words he/she sings in the deepest possible way and accepting full responsibility of our essential role in Divine Worship.

Six Categories of Orthodox Hymns

From Johann von Gardner's Orthodox Worship and Hymnography.

1) Doxological Hymns:
hymns ( ὕμνος) that offer praise to God. Example: consecration of the Holy Gifts at the Anaphora–We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we give thanks to Thee, O Lord, and we pray unto Thee, O our God.

2) Dogmatic Hymns: hymns that express keys elements of Orthodox doctrine. Example: the dogmatikon sung at Saturday evening Vespers in the 5th Tone–In the Red Sea of old, a type of the Virgin Bride was prefigured. There Moses divided the waters; here Gabriel assisted in the miracle. There Israel crossed the sea without getting wet, here the Virgin gave birth to Christ without seed. After Israel's passage, the sea remained impassable; after Emmanuel's birth, the Virgin remained a Virgin. O ever-existing God, Who appeared as Man, O Lord, have mercy on us!

3) Hymns that describe historical events: hymns that present a narrative or a story. Example: sticheron from the Nativity of Christ in the 5th Tone–The Magi, kings of Persia, knew with assurance that Thou, the heavenly King, wast born on earth. Led by the light of a star they came to Bethlehem, and offered their chosen gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Falling before Thee they worshipped Thee: for they saw Thee who art timeless lying as a babe in the cave.

4) Moralistic Hymns: hymns with no direct prayer to God but speak to the listener as a sung sermon. Example: sticheron from first Monday of Great Lent in the 3rd Tone–Let us observe a fast acceptable and pleasing to the Lord. True fasting is to put away all evil, to control the tongue, to forbear from anger, to abstain from lust, slander, falsehood and perjury. If we renounce these things, then is our fasting true and acceptable to God.

5) Contemplative Hymns: hymns that prompt the singer/listener to think deeper into their content. Example: sticheron from Great & Holy Saturday in the 2nd Tone–Today the grave holds Him who holds creation in the palm of His hand. A stone covers Him who covers the heavens with virtue. Life sleeps and Hell trembles, and Adam is set free from his bonds. Glory to Thy dispensation! Through it Thous hast fulfilled all the eternal Sabbath rest and hast granted us Thy most holy Resurrection from the dead.

6) Hymns that accompany liturgical action. Example: from the Divine Liturgy–We who mystically represent the Cherubim, and who sing to the Life-Giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn, let us now lay aside all earthly cares, that we may receive the King of all, escorted invisibly by the angelic orders. Alleluia

The Sound of Hagia Sophia

Icons of Sound: Hagia Sophia Reimagined - Part One
From Peggy Papaioannou

Kodaly Solfege Hand Signs

Solfege Hand Signs - Music Notes - Hoffman Academy

Hristos a înviat! Adevărat a înviat!


The various Orthodox Churches in America all have official music departments, events and activities, and resources that help Orthodox church musicians in their respective jurisdictions–singers, chanters, conductors, organists, and musicians in the youth ministry, organizers of music events–perform their respective duties in the Church and continue to improve their service and skills. The links to their websites are listed below:

1) The National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians

2) The Department of Sacred Music of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

3) Serbian Singing Federation

4) Department of Liturgical Music and Translations of the Orthodox Church in America

5) Synodal Liturgical Music Commission of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

Beyond the "official" music ministries of the canonic Orthodox Churches in America, in the last 30 years we have seen an unprecedented rise in the formation of independent arts organizations devoted to Orthodox arts and culture, fully professional in their personnel and structure. Orthodox Christians and Americans who take an interest in Orthodoxy should be aware of the work of these visionary efforts. Their websites and founders are listed below by date of formation in chronological order:

1) Cappella Romana is a professional vocal ensemble that performs early and contemporary sacred classical music in the Christian traditions of East and West. The ensemble is known especially for its presentations and recordings of medieval Byzantine chant (the Eastern sibling of Gregorian chant), Greek and Russian Orthodox choral works, and other sacred music that expresses the historic traditions of a unified Christian inheritance.

Founded in 1991 by Dr. Alexander Lingas.

2) The Synodal School of Liturgical Music was originally founded under the auspices of ROCOR but is now an independent not-for-profit corporation that administers an annual, two-week program of music courses at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York. It also runs a year-round online program of musicianship courses.

Founded in 1992 by Fr. Andrey Papkov.

3) The Society of Saint Romanos the Melodist was founded to promote Eastern Orthodox culture in general and sacred music in particular. The Society organizes and presents distinctive cultural events that further an awareness of Eastern Orthodoxy in America. These events include commissions of new works of art, concerts of sacred music, presentation of guest-artists, speakers and ensembles, theological seminars, and pilgrimages. The Society is endorsed by Members of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America and sponsors two choral ensembles.

Founded in 2001 by Dr. Peter Jermihov.

4) International Society for Orthodox Church Music (ISOCM) seeks to provide an open platform for musicians, musicologists, singers, and composers that encourages dialogue, the exchange of information and ideas, and inspires cooperation. The Society sees the promotion of communication between East and West as one of its priorities and hosts biannual conferences, at the University of Eastern Finland on its Joensuu campus. The Society also hosts regional symposia and gatherings elsewhere throughout the world to help create opportunities for collaboration and the sharing of knowledge in the field of Orthodox liturgical music.

Founded in 2005 by Fr. Ivan Moody.

5) The Saint John of Damascus Society is a sacred arts organization that seeks to promote excellence in the liturgical music of the Orthodox Christian Church, regardless of ethnic/national heritage of style, as well as support related outreach, educational, and academic efforts.

Founded in 2011 by Richard Barrett.

6) The Orthodox Arts Journal publishes articles and news for the promotion of traditional Orthodox liturgical arts. The Journal covers visual arts, music, liturgical ceremony and texts, and relevant art history and theory. The Journal presents these topics together to highlight the unified witness of the arts to the beauty of the Kingdom of God and to promulgate an understanding of how the arts work together in the worship of the Church. The Orthodox Arts Journal is not affiliated with any ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The staff and contributors are Orthodox Christians from a variety of backgrounds. The Journal operates with a blessing from Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York (ROCOR).

Founded in 2012 by Andrew Gould.

7) The Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Music Institute (PaTRAM Institute™) fosters the authentic and original splendor of Russian Orthodox choral music together with its astounding spiritual depth, in both the English and Slavonic languages. PaTRAM Institute performs world-class, professional recordings in unique venues featuring its award-winning international ensembles; distinctive concert performance events; and educational programs.

Founded in 2013 ­by Katherine and Alexis Lukianov.­­­

8) The Russian Choral Heritage Foundation has as its mission to ensure that accurate, authentic sources and subsequent high-quality editions of Russian sacred choral music continue to be widely available to performers, scholars, and church musicians around the world. The establishment of its online Orthodox Sacred Music Reference Library is designed to fulfill that mission.

Founded in 2018 by Dr. Vladimir Morosan.

Compiled by Dr. Peter Jermihov

Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere!


Soma Christou Virtual Choir
Soma Christou Virtual Choir: Welcome from Tikey Zes

Soma Christou Virtual Choir: Welcome from Tikey Zes

Christ Is Risen by Boris Ledkovsky

Concerto–"Christ Is Risen" by Boris Ledkovsky

Christus ist auferstanden! Er ist wahrhaftig auferstanden!


Available on Amazon, iTunes & Reference Recordings

2020 GRAMMY® Nominee for Best Choral Performance

All-Night Vigil, Op. 37: No. 6, Rejoice, Virgin
All Night Vigil, Op. 37 - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Rachmaninoff's Masterpiece

Христос възкресе! Воистина възкресе!

Христос васкрсе! Ваистину васкрсе!