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The 2020 Pan-Orthodox Music Symposium will feature 6 workshops led by experts in the field of Orthodox liturgical music.

Registrants for the Symposium will select each day which workshop they want to attend. Workshops with an * will be offered twice during the 2020 ISOCM/SVS Symposium. 



Robin Freeman, co-chair

2020 Symposium Local Organizing Committee


David Lucs, co-chair

2020 Symposium Local Organizing Committee


Para-Liturgical Activities in Parish Life

Maria Sheehan


Our modern age has effectively solved many of the problems that have long typified human suffering. This is a great gift. We have longer lives, more comfort, more resources, and more leisure than any previous generation could have dreamed of. But this process has also reduced the necessity of cooperating with one another and gathering with our neighbors.


We have lost many of the contexts in which we formerly created culture and forged relationships with our neighbors. And that lost connection has come at a cost. We now see a new vista of human suffering opening before us: isolation, depression, anxiety, addiction, meaninglessness. Since the opportunity to spend time in relationship with others now presents itself less and less out of material necessity, we have to begin to taking the time to do it deliberately for its own sake, and for the sake of our hearts and our culture.


But the fostering of these connections does not scale well to the size of industry. These connections can only successfully be made on a personal or community scale. Churches, in many ways, are ideally positioned to help supply this new “basic human need”, both for their own congregations and for society in general. 

In this one-hour session the instructor will present a practical model for designing an extra-liturgical experience on a community or home scale that fosters a powerful sense of connectivity and culture among those gathered. The instructor will present adaptable principles that can be customized to suit specific communities and contexts.


The presentation will focus on the planning of a sample event in order to give participants a hands-on experience of the problem solving process that goes into event planning within the provided model. 


Theology of the Liturgy

Grant White


What does the church’s gathering on Sunday to celebrate the Divine Liturgy have to do with its life, ministry, and mission? This question lies at the heart of Orthodox liturgical theology. In this interactive presentation, we will explore liturgical theology as an intensely practical activity of the church meant to help the church to discern and live out the connections between the praise of God in the liturgical assembly and the praise of God in daily life.


The goal of the seminar is to stimulate participants’ reflection on the doing of liturgical theology in the context of the worshipping communities to which they belong, and specifically with reference to their ministry as church musicians.

The Spiritual Dimension of a Church Musician

Tamara Petijevic 


Explore the spiritual dimension of choir directing – how personal prayer and spiritual growth impact the work of choir directors. How much time is spent preparing for liturgical services beyond assembling books and musical settings?


How does the singing impact those not in the choir? Is it possible to engage non-singers? Our discussion will explore choices in repertoire and the impact on those gathered in assembly.


Can those in attendance encounter prayer in concert settings? Do settings sung too slowly or without diction make the singing unintelligible? On the other hand: how can concerts of sacred music serve as real missionary work?


The aim of this workshop is to help choir directors and singers alike grow in their vocation as church musicians.



Achieving Quality Reading and Chanting in Liturgical Services

Archpriest Sergius Halvorsen

Church reading is a vital ministry. Do you ever read the epistle, chant the Hours or read psalms or Old Testament readings at Vespers?

Have you ever wondered why we "chant" as opposed to read in a "spoken voice"? At this workshop, designed for people who read in church, we will review the theology that guides and informs our liturgical ministry.

We will address practical concerns regarding rubrics, melodic patterns for reading, and how to chant the prokeimenon and alleluia in synergy with the choir. You will also have an opportunity to receive vocal coaching and practice the strategies learned in the workshop.

Most importantly, we will do all of this within a supportive community of fellow readers and liturgical musicians, so that we may ultimately glorify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Whether or not you are a tonsured reader, if you read in church, then this workshop is for you.


Arranging for the Voices You Have

Nazo Zakkak

This workshop will give participants an opportunity to experiment with non-traditional voicings and arrangements in order to discover creative solutions to typical church choir issues.

Problems will be presented within 2-part and 4-part arrangements while solutions are discussed, attempted, and workshopped. Arrangements will be discussed and considered for a range of voice types and timbres as well as different sized choirs.

Achieving a Unified Choral Sound

Robin Freeman

How well do we listen to one another when we sing, and how does listening affect choral sound? This interactive workshop will explore ways to improve intonation, blend, and balance in group singing contexts by aligning individual voices.


We will experiment with listening, assessing, and adjusting. Factors involving vocal production, vowel formation, imagery, and intention will be discussed. Participants will learn how these interconnected factors can be addressed in rehearsals and in services.