The Liturgical Musical Commission of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia conducted its 26th Annual Musicians’ Conference in Los Angeles, CA, from the 4th to the 8th of October, 2017.
This year’s conference, entitled “Prayerful Sound in the Orthodox Church: Vocal Artistry of the Deacon, Reader and Singer at Divine Services,” was attended by 70 participants including the clergy.
The featured guest speaker was Priest Dmitry Bolgarsky of Saint Jonah Monastery, Kiev, Ukraine. Other faculty members and lecturers included His Grace Bishop Theodosy of Seattle, Protodeacon Vadim Gan (New York), Protodeacon Ioann Drobot, (Paris, France), Subdeacon Anthony Stokes (Denton, Texas) and Andrei Roudenko (Burlingame, California).
Among the many interesting lectures, workshops and presentations offered, there were the topics : “The Legacy of Protodeacons in the Russian Church Outside of Russia,” “A Practicum for Deacons with Readers and Singers in Mind,” and “The Council of 1917-1918 Regarding Church Singing.” Practical work was done in the areas of liturgical books, music theory and choral performance techniques. And of course, there were the choir rehearsals at which enthusiasm reigned due to the of collection good church singers and the desire to practice a new repertoire. As can be noted by the titles of some of the lectures: special focus was given to good practices for deacons. This was a first for these conferences and there are plans to develop a program for diaconal service in the future.
The conference culminated with the performance of the Divine Services where all that was learned and practiced was applied. Participants commented on how uplifted they became singing with so many people of like mind and talent. On Sunday October 8th, His Grace Theodosy Bishop of Seattle presided over the Divine Liturgy at which 13 clergymen participated: 1 bishop, 5 priests and 7 deacons. The miraculous myrrh-streaming Iveron-Hawaiian Icon of the Mother of God graced the Divine Services by her presence as she is passing throughout Orthodox parishes in the United States during the 10th Anniversary of her appearance (2007-2017).