June 14, 2020

Yonkers, NY – Over 200 church musicians from Europe, Australia, and North America gathered in online presentations and discussions exploring the theme of “Music as Liturgy.” The 3-day event was co-hosted by the International Society for Orthodox Church Music (ISOCM) and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVS).

As choirs and churches around the globe face the uncertainty of how to remain physically safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, participants at the 2020 Pan-Orthodox Music Symposium looked at the question of how clergy, faithful, and in particular singers and chanters “do the liturgy.”

“I have never taken part in a music even...

June 8, 2020

Yonkers, NY – Orthodox Christians are often considered the most traditional of Christians, yet the latest technology is making it possible for an international gathering of Orthodox church musicians to take place during the COVID-19 global pandemic, exploring and preparing for the future of Orthodox Church Music.

Participants at the 3-day online 2020 Pan-Orthodox Music Symposium will explore the theme of “Music as Liturgy” beginning Thursday, June 11.

The event, co-sponsored by The International Society for Orthodox Church Music (ISOCM) and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVS), will feature masterclasses, presentations, and...

June 5, 2020

My father calls me Doozer. I’m told that the genesis of this particular term of endearment was my special enthusiasm for the Doozers of Fraggle Rock. Do you remember Fraggle Rock? I suppose I’m dating myself a bit.

The well-loved 1980’s series featured two groups of people: the care-free and jubilant Fraggles, and the diligent, hard-working Doozers. They had two rather opposite philosophies: Play vs Work.

             Dance your cares away, worry’s for another day         

             Let the music play—down at Fraggle Rock!...

May 17, 2020

I’ve read some thoughts these days about singing during and after the pandemic and would like to quote an American doctor, who is cautiously optimistic: “We have performed and thrived amid terrible infectious diseases before…The same science telling us it’s dangerous to sing together now is also what can help us find a way through this dark time. I don’t know the exact form this will take, but I know it’s a puzzle with defined pieces and therefore has a solution or many solutions....”

It is a challenge for me to enlighten these dark times with all of you and to share my (European) music experience and knowledge about singing and conducti...

March 13, 2018

February 8, 2018  Reflection    

By Harrison Russin, Ph.D. candidate in Musicology, Duke University;
Dean’s Fellow and Lecturer in Liturgical Music, St. Vladimir’s Seminary

On Saturday, February 10, 2018, at 6:30 p.m., the seminary Chorale will commence its “Orthodox Masterpieces” series by singing Great Vespers in Three Hierarchs Chapel, featuring select compositions by Archpriest Sergei Glagolev. Father Sergei is noted for his pioneering work in introducing English-language musical compositions into Orthodox Christian church services—inspired hymnography with a uniquely American sound. Following the liturgical service...

December 11, 2017

Minneapolis, MN – The International Society for Orthodox Church Music (www.isocm.com) will host, for the second time, a Pan-Orthodox music symposium at St Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral here from Wednesday, June 20 through Sunday, June 24, 2018. Registration for the event is now open. An early-bird, discounted rate will be available through Friday, February 9, 2018.

The event will explore the theme of "Orthodox Liturgical Music: Ancient and Modern Creativity" through presentations and workshops, music reading sessions, rehearsals, and will culminate in a festive hierarchical All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy. Organizers hope the theme will i...

May 6, 2016

A few months ago, a fascinating article was shared via npr.org on Facebook entitled, “When Choirs Sing, Many Hearts Beat as One.” It was an interesting research study done at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden on the heart rates of high school students as they sang together in a choir. The study findings confirmed that choir music has a calming effect on the heart.

 

In one of the responses, Frederica Matthewes-Green commented, “When people sing together, their heartbeats slow down and synchronize almost immediately. It's obvious, but I never thought about it: singing is a form of guided breathing; we inhale and exhale together, and o...

December 17, 2015

As a newborn, I didn’t breathe for my first two weeks.  Perhaps I just didn’t feel like it, I don’t really know the reason.  As a result, I was hooked up to a machine that took all the blood out of my body, oxygenated it, and then put it back in.  Thinking about it now, it’s pretty cool.  It sounds like something out of Star Trek.  It went on for a week or two.  The only real human interaction I had during that time was with my dad.  He would sit next to the contraption I was isolated in and sing to me.  Just sing.  Eventually, I came home from the hospital.  Home was filled with music.  My parents, my dad especially, wou...

November 17, 2015

The use of sung hymns to open our hearts to God is as ancient as the people of God themselves.  In fact, the Book of Psalms is frequently referred to as the hymn book of the church and instructs us to “Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;” (Ps 33:1a) and to “Praise in the assembly of his faithful people” (Ps 149:1b). The Psalms even teach us that creation itself praises God for His wonders, “The heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints” (Ps 89:5).

 

We Bless You from the House of the Lord

But the psalmist isn’t suggesting that we praise God, instead the Psalms identify prai...