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June 4, 2010
Washington, DC: The first diocesan music conference was held at St. John the Baptist Cathedral

conf1.jpg (61640 bytes)From Friday the 28th through Saturday the 29th of May, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Washington, DC, hosted the first interactive seminar for church musicians, presented by the Eastern American Diocesan Music Committee. Developed in response to a 2009 survey of the liturgical musicians of the diocese (and beyond), the conference was deliberately brief and intensive, focused on the development of basic skills, such as vocal and conducting technique.

The conference began with a Moleben, served by Archpriest Victor Potapov, rector of the cathedral, and sung by the participants, who had traveled from as far south as Atlanta, GA and as far north as Montreal, Canada. Most of the registrants were from ROCOR parishes, but there were also representatives of other jurisdictions, including the Carpatho-Russian Church and the OCA.

The first interactive seminar was led by vocal pedagogue Inna Petcherkin, who provided insight to breathing and exercises to relax and develop muscles needed for proper singing. Thereafter, Youri Petcherkin led choral warm-ups, exhorting choir directors to do so with their ensembles at rehearsals. He led several interactive sessions, demonstrating conducting techniques and having participants try various exercises as well as taking lead of the group, for instruction that was literally "hands-on." Meanwhile, Mrs. Petcherkin provided private, individualized vocal instruction to participants, one-on-one.

conf2.jpg (65291 bytes)At lunch, EADMC Chairwoman Elizabeth Ledkovsky gave a lecture entitled "Multiplying Talents: the Church Singer’s Privileges & Responsibilities." In the afternoon, Dr. Natalie Zelensky gave a fascinating lecture, surveying the history of Russian liturgical music, from 988 to the present. This talk was followed by a dinner and merry evening of camaraderie, singing, and conversation.

On Saturday, Mr. Petcherkin continued his conducting practica, whilst Mrs. Petcherkin continued to offer lessons. Archpriest George Johnson gave an informal talk about discipline in the choir.

The seminar concluded with a panel discussion, in which presenters Jared Brewer and Eugenia Temidis demonstrated various approaches to singing services with varying ensembles, followed by lunch.

The sisterhood, led by Matushka Maria Potapov and head sister Natalia Ekzarkhov, provided sustenance throughout the two days of the conference, serving bountiful and delicious meals and refreshments.

Photo-report of the Conference

Upon completion of the conference, many participants stayed in the Washington area and took part in the divine service in St. John the Baptist Cathedral and Holy Apostles Church in Beltsville, MD.

On Saturday, May 29, the All-Night Vigil in St. John the Baptist Cathedral was led by the rector, Archpriest Victor Potapov, co-served by Priest John Johnson and Priest Alexander Resnikoff. The Vigil was adorned with the antiphonal singing of the parish’s Slavonic and English choirs. Photos and audio of the divine services in Washington on May 29-30 are available here:

Photo-report of the divine services at St. John the Baptist Cathedral

All-Night Vigil at St. John the Baptist Cathedral

Liturgy at St. John the Baptist Cathedral

Divine Services in Holy Apostles Church were led in English by rector Archpriest George Johnson, co-served by parish Deacon Damian Dantinne. The church is currently located in a rented storefront while major renovations continue in the new church. On June 3, 2009, through the Lord’s mercy, the parishioners of Holy Apostles witnessed a pure miracle in the wondrous gift which was given to us: a beautiful brick country church situated on two acres of land in Beltsville. The historic St. Joseph’s church is a disused Catholic cemetery chapel, built in 1880 in the American Queen Anne Revival style. Photos and audio of the divine services in Holy Apostles Church on May 29-30 are available here.

Photo-report of the divine services at the Church of the Holy Apostles

All-Night Vigil at the Church of the Holy Apostles

Liturgy at the Church of the Holy Apostles

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese

See also

Interview with members of the Eastern American Diocesan Music Committee (EADMC)