DAYTON, OH [DOM] – On Friday and Saturday, November 10-11, 2023, as many as 80 Orthodox faithful from eight states and 19 parishes and institutions gathered at St Paul the Apostle Church in Dayton, OH, for music and liturgical instruction, prayer and fellowship.
This is the second year in a row that the Diocese of the Midwest’s St Andrew of Crete Music Ministry has sponsored a workshop in Dayton, OH. This year the workshop was honored to have as its opening speaker His Eminence, Archbishop Daniel of Chicago and the Midwest, who addressed all participants with inspiring words about the Divine Liturgy on Friday evening. In his talk His Eminence highlighted the role that all of us play at the liturgy, and that participation in it should be at the center of our life. His Eminence also gave attention to the Holy Synod’s recent decision on the glorification of Matushka Olga of Kwethluk – glory to God! On Saturday morning, Music Ministry Committee members Priest Gregory Ealy, Michelle Jannakos and Matushka Elizabeth Frase, led sessions for both conductors and singers. In the afternoon, participants were divided into two choirs, which rehearsed and then sang antiphonally at Great Vespers under the direction of Matushka Miho Ealy and Matushka Tamara Patterson.
In addition to this, St Paul’s Children’s Choir director, Mrs Amedee Royer together with Michelle Jannakos, taught hymns from Great Vespers and the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy to over 20 children. On Saturday evening the children led all those gathered at Vespers in singing Gladsome Light and the prokeimenon. For all the participants, the children’s singing was not just a highlight, but an absolute blessing.
An important added component to this year’s workshop was a liturgical practicum for subdeacons and deacons on how to serve the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Deacon Vitaly Permiakov (St Vladimir’s Seminary) led this session on Saturday morning with Reader Barry Migyanko assisting. After lunch, Dn Vitaly spoke eloquently to all participants on the historical development of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. The workshop technically ended with Great Vespers on Saturday, but many participants chose to stay through Sunday’s Hierarchical Divine Liturgy to experience and sing what they had learned.
At Sunday’s Divine Liturgy, concelebrating with His Eminence were Fr. Gregory Ealy, Rector; Priest Esteban Vázquez, Diocesan Vice-Chancellor; Deacon Vitaly Permiakov and Deacon David Abshear. Matushka Miho Ealy directed the choir. During the Divine Liturgy His Eminence awarded Fr Gregory with the gold cross.
The entire weekend was very productive and also a blessing in so many different ways. Everyone who participated in the weekend’s events took with them something new that ultimately will help them become better liturgical singers. Joe Kormos, choir director at Christ the Savior Orthodox Church in Cincinnati, while reflecting on the weekend’s events, said, “While it’s enjoyable to attend concerts or watch videos of good Orthodox choirs, this workshop provided an opportunity to work under the guidance of accomplished directors rarely available to most parish singers. The combination of vocal and choral coaching, energetic practice and mastering fresh music made for a stimulating day. This will ultimately elevate the quality of liturgical singing in our parishes.” As singers and servers, liturgy is our craft, and, to paraphrase His Eminence, we should hone this craft, and do it the best that we can. This past weekend’s workshop was a beautiful opportunity to sharpen our liturgical skills and also participate in the work of the people in a renewed way.