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Re: A place for Cantors to talk about their ministry #206397 04/05/05 06:33 PM
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Steve Petach Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by J Thur:
Quote
Originally posted by Jim:
[b] Well, even where a resource conflict is at work, there might be a cantor who had already encountered the problem, and had a way to fix it. smile
We even have directors of cantor institutes who rarely if ever use cantors at eparchial liturgies. Should we include 'choir' music in this too? Trying to "fix" what the church ignored and let go for so many years since they ordained the last cantor can be a challenge.

But I know you are up to it. You think positively and have hope. Have fun like the rest of us did. See you at the pub to discuss. The first three are on me.

Joe [/b]
You presume the decisions are made by the "directors of cantor institutes" as to eparchial liturgies. I would think the Eparch would have the final say of cantor/choir for an eparchial liturgy.

I had not meant to incite a negative verbal onslaught in my post regarding changing views of the vocation of cantor by both clergy and laity. I was NOT advocating that cantors be paid $$$ necessarily, but the respect that their vocation deserves. I certainly wouldn't advocate not paying the parish secretary. It just seems that unless one has a zillion years of service in a parish does a cantor get recognised.

Yes there are challenges and obstacles to overcome! Just setting up a weeklong cantor school can be difficult-coordinating schedules-selecting a location-$$$$-etc. Also there needs to be real support and attendance. A positive attitude will go much farther than cynicism.


If a weeklong cantor school was set up would you make the effort to attend or just pass it off with more cynicism?

Just .000002 cent opinion.

Even without a seperate group for cantors on this forum, there are email lists on Yahoogroups.com that cover areas of interest to cantors as Jeff Mierzejewski posted.

Steve Petach

Re: A place for Cantors to talk about their ministry #206398 04/05/05 08:37 PM
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Jim Offline OP
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Over time I have developed a file of service music and special services that I draw from as a parish resource, and I make it a habit to review the typikon prior to each service. I also make a point of reviewing infrequently used materials with Father prior to a service as well. Even so, attending a week-long Metropolitan Cantor Institute or a regional alternative would be something I would still want to do. A network of cantors who can tap into each others knowledge is far better than going it alone.

Re: A place for Cantors to talk about their ministry #206399 04/05/05 10:19 PM
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Friends, there is already an OFFICIAL website for the dissemination of OFFICIAL texts and musical arrangements of the liturgy and the changeable liturgical texts: http://www.metropolitancantorinstitute.org/ The Council of Hierarchs has created the Intereparchial Liturgical Music Commission to prepare and disseminate these OFFICIAL arrangements. The use of non-official settings is strictly prohibited. Cantors should not challenge the authority of the Council of Hierarchs by using or disseminating unapproved texts and settings for the divine services. Anyone interested in obtaining copies of the officially approved settings should contact
Professor J. Michael Thompson, Professor of Ecclesial Chant, Saints Cyril and Methodius Seminary, 3605 Perrysville Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15214 Phone: 412-321-8383 Fax: 412-321-9936 chantermt@aol.com Professor Thompson is also in charge of the Metropolitan Cantors Institute.

Re: A place for Cantors to talk about their ministry #206400 04/05/05 10:58 PM
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Joe T Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Steve Petach:
Also there needs to be real support and attendance. A positive attitude will go much farther than cynicism.

If a weeklong cantor school was set up would you make the effort to attend or just pass it off with more cynicism?
Steve,

I think we will agree with what needs to be done regarding cantors and training. I once attended an eparchial cantor institute, and like many attendees, it was basically an extension of one person's ideas. Many cantors just grow suspect and left. The "support" from church leaders was flimsy.

It isn't cynicism, my friend. Just recognition of how things are and how cantors, including myself, did our profession out of the box - bankers box that is. Many of us our self-taught because the church didn't give a rat's butt.

You don't recommend not paying the secretary, but will you be willing to live with only volunteer secretaries? How well will things be run in the office? The church did decide to go with the volunteer cantor and got what it paid for. Non-ordained cantors make no 'promise' of obedience either.

Cantors can come and go; they are disposable and that is the way the church likes them. They are cheaper that way. No obligations attached or any reciprocal relationships.

My argument isn't about $$$$. It is about "priorities." A Melkite bishop wrote about the priority issue and my post only paraphrased what HE said about paying secretaries and lawncare specialists but letting our cantorship go down the tube. Complain to him about being cynical.

Maybe that bishop visited one too many parishes, saw many beautifully landscaped temples, but attended many horribly done liturgies because the music either stunk or the cantors didn't know squat what to do. I attended a liturgy once when the Patriarch visited. What was printed in the special booklet and what was done were two different things.

The church found no problem dumping a whole cantor tradition, not me. I did a lot of volunteering and have decided to leave it gradually. Eventually, I will be gone. Got tired about having priest appreciation day and being reminded about how we need to pay our priests when cantor issues are never addressed. It took its toll when I took one too many vacation days off from work to help bury our dead without a thank you or stipend. That wasn't what bothered me, but it was being told that the parish is obligated to provide to the pastor with a cantor. Are volunteer ministries obligations?

My last effort to help train cantors was when our bishop came to visit a nearby church. I was asked to help them figure out how to cantor Matins et al. Some of the cantors' attitude was so disgusting that I decided never to cantor or train others at that church again. They too can learn out of a box and then get scolded for not having the right music or text in front of them because they are never told where to get the darn books.

I paid my time in volunteer ministries as a cantor. Some priests also like to cantor anyway. Let them do it.

Joe

Re: A place for Cantors to talk about their ministry #206401 04/05/05 11:42 PM
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Jim Offline OP
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Unless I'm mistaken, the Cantor Institute does not distribute propers materials on an ongoing basis, i.e. daily/weekly, to parishes in print format for use. They offer them via Adobe PDF files. That is still a showstopper for some parishes. Their materials are very complete, but require more printing than previous materials which can rapidly become costly. Reusable books with limited printed supplements is more cost effective on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps that is coming. I don't know. So, the official status of their editions is one thing. Complete, successful implementation of them universally is another matter. There IS a resource issue that has to be addressed in order for consistency to become reality.

Re: A place for Cantors to talk about their ministry #206402 04/05/05 11:47 PM
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Condolences to Joe on some awful experiences - and thanks to Edward for kind words on the website.

But I need to comment on the statement, "The use of non-official settings is strictly prohibited." The sad fact is that, with the exception of the 1966 (I believe) translation of the Divine Liturgy, the sacramental rituals, and a few mandated changes, there have been VERY few "official texts", let alone texts with music, over the past 25 years. For Vespers and Matins, we have largely made due with "for private use only" and "compiled from approved materials" books from Monsignor Levkulic and the Sisters of St. Basil (God bless them!), Archbishop Raya, and Orthodox sources, combined (everywhere slightly differently) with prostopinije chant - much of it simplified over time.

Wherever the Intereparchial Liturgical Commission has decided on a text, we have made use of it in the service books prepared for the seminary and for the Metropolitan Cantor's Institute, using the melodies agreed on by the Intereparchial Music Commission, which consists of both priests and cantors. In a FEW cases, our hierarchs have formally approved, or are considering approval of, these materials, and I look forward to more of these in the future - having seen the new Ukrainian book and having some idea of what is in the works for our church, I think people will be pleasantly surprised.

To sum up:

1. For the first time in ages, our bishops followed the process they created, OFFICIALLY promulgated a service book, and saw that it was widely available and used. The details might have gone more smoothly, but I've heard that a lot more was sung on Holy Friday than might have been. When our bishops promulgate a service book and say no other is to be used, THEN "The use of non-official settings is strictly prohibited" for that service.

2. Where no official text is available, the Cantor Institute is producing books used the best texts we have available: either from the Liturgical Commission when possible, or from "traditional" materials in our church, checked against Orthodox usage where necessary.

3. And when you need a text you can't find, use any reliable Eastern Catholic, or non-controversial Orthodox, text. God is to be praised in all.

I just wanted to make sure people knew that the books on the Cantor Institute website are not the only editions that can be used in our churches.

Christ is risen!

Jeff Mierzejewski

Re: A place for Cantors to talk about their ministry #206403 04/06/05 03:35 PM
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Jim Offline OP
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Since not eveyone here receives prostopinije mailing music settings: An email went to prostopinije mailing subscribers regarding the correct and incorrect use of materials from the Cantor Institute. Only materials officially approved for use are to be implemented. Many older non-Institute materials have that endorsement previously (e.g. green book, etc.), but not all recent Cantor Institute materials are officially approved- yet.

I personally hope for the endorsement of all the Cantor Institute materials soon, so that we can be more clearly organized in our services everywhere. Once approved, maybe we can get on with the business of publishing more durable materials for use in the parishes, and eliminate the need for lots of local desktop publishing.

Re: A place for Cantors to talk about their ministry #206404 04/06/05 11:20 PM
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Joe T Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by ByzKat:
When our bishops promulgate a service book and say no other is to be used, THEN "The use of non-official settings is strictly prohibited" for that service.
Jeff,

So the Filioque IS official?

Joe

Re: A place for Cantors to talk about their ministry #206405 04/07/05 12:48 AM
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ByzKat Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by J Thur:

So the Filioque IS official?

Joe [/QB]
Let's review.

There were both a People's Book and a Priest/Cantor Book promulgated by the metropolitan for Holy Friday, March 25, 2005, with a directive that no other book was to be used.

The people's book was made available to me to put on the Cantor Institute website, and was distributed in quantity to parishes. After the Alleluia for the Gospel, this book simply says "The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom continues." No filioque here.

I did see (in church that night) the separate Priest/Cantor book (which we used at the kliros, and which a few parishes gave out to all the people, sparking some complaints about extraneous material). The creed contains the words "from the Father [and the Son]". From the conventions used throughout our books, this fairly obviously means that the words might be used in some circumstances, and not in others. Why?

We have not had a new text of the Divine Liturgy for use throughout the Archeparchy since 1965. In certain, but I believe NOT ALL, eparchies, the filioque clause has been stricken from use. If this is the case, then putting it in brackets is the precisely correct thing to do, unless the hierarches wanted to distribute two books, or make Holy Friday the day to promulgate a permanent change in the Divine Liturgy throughout the archeparchy. (And if some eparchies still use the filioque, I would think some real catechesis is in order when the change is made!)

Having said that, I would be willing to wager a bottle of plum brandy that when an new official text of the Divine Liturgy is finally promulgated by our bishops, you will see no sign at all of "and from the Son" in the creed. Until then, "from the Father [and the Son]" reflects the state of the Divine Liturgy in our metropolia.(Heck, here where it IS stricken, it's still in the Liturgy book - so showing that it is optional was an improvement.)

Yours in the risen Christ,

Jeff

Re: A place for Cantors to talk about their ministry #206406 04/07/05 11:49 PM
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Steve Petach Offline
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....Returning back to our original topic.....

What do Forum members think about having a seperate grouping for Cantors to use on the Forum? Could the Forum accomodate it?

After being derailed by the filioque question, WOULD the forum accomodate it?
Seriously,the need for interchange among cantors in parishes spread out over long distances is much needed. Even more so with the plight of volunteer cantors where there is no formal organisation to exchange information, news, and ideas.
Even without a seperate forum there are a number of cantor email lists available.

Steve

Re: A place for Cantors to talk about their ministry #206407 04/08/05 03:05 PM
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Jim Offline OP
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After over 20 messages back and forth, we appear to be no closer to a cantor forum within the website than when I first posed the idea. Perhaps phone calls and email between cantors would prove more effective than internet postings in working the various issues they encounter, though it hasn't worked for me in the past. Maybe now the time is right.

Re: A place for Cantors to talk about their ministry #206408 04/08/05 08:04 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Jim:
After over 20 messages back and forth, we appear to be no closer to a cantor forum within the website than when I first posed the idea.
Well, I'll second the suggestion, if we're following "Robert's Rules". I think a forum for cantors is a good suggestion, it seems like a lot of cantors gather here already, it seems like a great idea. I'm not a cantor, but I do like to sing!

Re: A place for Cantors to talk about their ministry #206409 04/08/05 10:22 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Jim:
After over 20 messages back and forth, we appear to be no closer to a cantor forum within the website than when I first posed the idea. Perhaps phone calls and email between cantors would prove more effective than internet postings in working the various issues they encounter, though it hasn't worked for me in the past. Maybe now the time is right.
Patience, please! biggrin

This thread has not yet been active for four days. I only have a limited amount of time available to monitor the Forum. This week, with the death and funeral of the Holy Father, I have been glued to my television (along with two billion others!). Plus I have a number of publishing commitments I am behind on. Not to mention that the website content is in serious need of being updated.

A few Forum participants know that I am a cantor and that I have provided much of the music used in our Byzantine-Ruthenian Church during the last 25 years. The idea of a special forum for cantors is one that has appealed to me since the Forum went online in 1998. A reasonable requirement for a cantors’ forum is that cantors and others interested in the nitty gritty of chanting the Divine Services actually participate in it. We have visited this issue 3 times in the past 7 years. Each time it seemed reasonable to ask cantors to start threads in the “Parish Life” forum. The idea was that if it took off I could then create a cantors’ forum and then transfer those threads to the new forum. In the past there was not enough activity to justify a dedicated forum (I think that after one or two threads it died). It could be that now there is enough interest. But the Prostopinije List on Yahoo! already provides a vehicle for discussions (although a messageboard format like ours does have lots of advantages over an e-list).

Keep talking…. And start a few threads…. And please allow me the weekend to discuss it with others.

Admin biggrin

Re: A place for Cantors to talk about their ministry #206410 04/09/05 03:13 PM
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One of the reasons for proposing a cantor forum was to try to create a place where cantors could be candid with each other about issues effecting the performance of their ministry, without having to concern themselves so much with general church or parish politics. I'm not so sure that can be accomplished if it is open to everyone, cantors as well as non-cantors, because personal agendas can and do enter into threads routinely in cases where access is unlimited. Could that be why the deacon's door is open only to deacons? Seems likely. It might be helpful to know how many threads occur within the deacon's forum. Also, wide-open threads tend to morph into other subjects, just as the filioque entered this thread earlier. Just my two cents.

Re: A place for Cantors to talk about their ministry #206411 04/09/05 06:48 PM
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The suggestion to start a "Cantor's Corner" analogous to the Deacon's Door on this Byzantine Forum had occurred to me over the last week, and so it was with great interest that I have read the discussion so far.

I am very appreciative of all that the Administrator has done in this area for decades now, and I also appreciate all that is currently being done by the Metropolitan Cantor Institute and the InterEparchial Commissions. I have only been on the Prostopinije List for a few months, but I have already benefited tremendously, and there is much more I hope to gain from it.

I am especially grateful for those who are willing to explain and defend their decisions in these electronic media. It is notoriously easy for discussions to generate into flame wars, especially on topics that people care deeply about. In general this Forum handles those tensions much better than most others I have seen, still there have been many times when my spirit has been grieved by the tone and content of exchanges that have taken place here. God bless those who enter that furnace with their eyes open!

I would not support such a Forum if it would be seen or used as an alternative or competitor to what is being undertaken on Prostopinije, and ultimately Jeff and the others involved in its creation and maintenance would be the best judges of that.

However I suspect a limited access forum using this Bulletin Board Format might have some advantages and could act as a supplement and complement rather than competitor to the excellent resources already available.

I respect the wisdom the Administrator has shown in discerning the path for these Fora up to now, and I specifically endorse his suggestion that we take some time to "test and discern" before jumping to conclusions.

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