St. Andrew Church Choir

April 13, 2020: Holy Week


Big picture

Listen to Fr. John Kalomas' Scripture-Based Daily Lessons of Hope & Comfort

The Holy Friday Lamentations

Holy Friday Lamentations

Stasis 1: beginning

Stasis 2: 8:40

Stasis 3: 15:00

Notice how slowly the Lamentations are sung here. Also, please listen to the ison and how it amplifies the melody and the text, deepens our awareness of their beauty. Interestingly, the practice of using this supporting note below the melody was introduced into Byzantine chanting in the 16th Century with the first example of a notated ison appearing in 1847. The practice of using ison is a relatively modern one; Byzantine Chant was likely sung in a monophonic fashion, as a single melody with no accompanying voices.

Choir Matters

Vocal Technique Review

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

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

April 12


Facial posture, inside smile

Continuation of vowel production

Virtual Choir review

April 26


Classification of consonants

Basics of good diction

Virtual Choir Guidelines


Here are the instructions for your recording of the Paschal Hymns:

1) select the voice part you would like to sing for each piece (melody treble, ison treble, melody bass or ison bass);

2) listen to the click track from your phone with headphones (preferably in-ear headphones) and practice singing the 4 pieces;

3) when you are ready to record yourself, decide on your background could be anything that is acceptable to see for the viewer (inserted backgrounds are fine although my personal preference is to have the background look real & natural);

4) you will need 2 devices: the phone from which you will listen to the click track with headphones and the desktop or laptop computer from which you will make the video recording;

5) position the screen view so that you are in the middle of the screen and your head and face are clearly visible;

6) it is very important that there is no background noise while you record;

7) practice making the recording several times so that you are pleased with your facial expression and sound quality;

8) when your final product is completed, make certain the files are in MP4 format;

9) send the files via email & post to Google Drive as listed in email to Choir; please make certain that you specify the first word (or 2 words) of the piece, voice part(s) you sang for that piece, and your first name & initial of last name (example: Hristos anesti, bass melody, Peter J.);

10) the order of pieces is: Dhefte, Tin Anastasin, Hristos anesti, Hristos voskrese;

11) your files are due by the end of this coming weekend–Sunday, April 12. They will be reviewed and combined into a virtual choir; the final product will be ready for release on Pascha.

12) women–no need to wear scarves; dress code for men & women–church elegant;

13) you can look at your music; no need to have it memorized (that's for next time); but you can position the music in front of yourself so that you are looking forward;

14) hold the last note of Hristos voskrese longer than the written note value;

15) facial expression should be as it is in church–prayerful and sincere (engaged but not theatrical); if your singing comes from the heart, your face will have the perfect expression;

If you have any questions, please contact Peter by phone or email, and I will guide you through the process.



Tradition and Creativity

To Be Released on April 17, 2020

2020 GRAMMY® Nominee for Best Choral Performance

All Night Vigil, Op. 37 - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Rachmaninoff's Masterpiece

John Tavener in conversation with Michael J. Stewart on Mary of Egypt

Sir John Tavener, British Orthodox Composer, Describes His Opera

Mary of Egypt, Act III: Bless Duet

Mary of Egypt, Act III: Bless Duet

Soma Christou Virtual Choir

"Soma Christu" by Tikey Zes, Sung by a Virtual Choir