February 25, 2012
Philadelphia, PA: An Original Concert by the Eastern American
Diocesan Youth Choir was held
Saturday the 18th and Sunday the 19th of February, the Eastern
American Diocesan Youth Choir met in Philadelphia, PA at the
Church of the Mother of God, Joy of All Who Sorrow. About 60
talented young men and women came from across the East Coast and
Canada to take part in the singing of the divine services and
conclude the weekend with a concert centered around the life of the
The organizers of the event, Nicholas Kotar, Dimitri Doohovskoy, and
Ilya Dubelshtein, were joined by singers coming not only from an
array of musical backgrounds, but also a variety of Orthodox
jurisdictions, turning this into a pan-Orthodox event. The choir
included singers from Canada, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Massachusetts, and even Florida, as well as students from multiple
seminaries: Holy Cross Greek Seminary in Boston, MA, St. Tikhon’s
OCA Seminary in South Canaan, PA, and Holy Trinity Seminary in
gathering involved several warm-ups prior to the start of Saturday’s
Vigil and Sunday’s Liturgy. The Diocesan Youth Choir sang the
majority of the All-Night Vigil at Joy of All Who Sorrow Church in
English and Slavonic under the direction of Alex Cooley, though
several portions of the service were sung by the Holy Trinity
Seminary Choir under Nicholas Kotar’s direction and the hymn "O
Gladsome Light" was even sung by Greek chanters. Additionally, a
small group of singers went to sing Vespers at a small mission, St.
Paul’s Antiochian Church in Emmaus, PA, just outside of
gratitude for their wonderful singing at the Saturday service, the
parish invited the youth to a bountiful feast of blini.
Some of the participants noted the atmosphere of warm relations, and
expressed their joy at the participation of their Orthodox brothers
and sisters from various jurisdictions.
"I think it’s a wonderful experience! It’s good that so many
different communities were pulled together in order to do this,"
remarked Ignatius Gauvain, second-year seminarian at St. Tikhon’s
Rachel Loeb, parishioner of Holy Resurrection Bulgarian Church in
Allston, MA, echoed the sentiment: "It’s amazing that so many young
people can get together and just instantly sound so beautiful and
have a pan-Orthodox experience together and really contribute
something from all different backgrounds to glorifying God."
culmination of the missionary choral weekend was an original concert
entitled "Two Paths Diverged at the Wood," performed on Sunday at
St. Michael the Archangel Church (MP). The concert, prepared by
Nicholas Kotar and Dimitri Doohovskoy, consisted of several ancient
musical pieces from the Russian, Greek, and Georgian traditions, and
music from Renaissance England, as well as readings of short
excerpts from Holy Scripture, the writings of the early Church
Fathers, and 20th century poetry and prose. The performance began
with an introduction by conductor Nicholas Kotar, who explained the
idea behind the concert: a dramatization of the life of the Wise
Thief, beginning with a joyful childhood, to a youthful trauma, a
prodigal life of crime and, finally, the wood of the cross, where he
would face a choice between good and evil, and where in the final
moments of his life he would receive forgiveness from God.
"It’s always good to get exposure to Orthodoxy through music: people
hear these pieces, it piques their interest, and they want to ‘come
and see,’" Subdeacon George Goodge, parishioner of St. Paul’s Church
members were in attendance.
Available below is
a video news report and a full-length video recording of the
Republication of materials must include a reference to:
"Eastern American Diocesewww.eadiocese.org."