CANADIAN DIOCESE: October 16, 2003


The XVI Annual Church Music Conference in Montreal Comes to a Close

The sixteenth annual Church Music Conference, held in Montreal, Quebec, from 8-12 October 2003 was dedicated to the memory of Archimandrite Feodor (Golitsyn), a renowned scholar of church music. Archimandrite Feodor educated several generations of church singers and choir directors in Canada, and, most of all, in the Cathedral city of the Canadian Diocese.
Still, a great deal of effort was needed to hold the Conference (organized by the Church Music Committee of the Synod of Bishops under the presidency of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Metropolitan Laurus) in Montreal. “A year and a half or two years ago, our parish, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, had to rebuild itself almost from nothing, and now has the honor, and, I must add, the good fortune to be able to, welcome our dear guests,” said the Rector of St. Nicholas Cathedral, Priest George Lagodich. “Our savings were lost, the restoration of the Cathedral, terribly damaged by fire in 1998, seemed a only a dream, the number of parishioners fell drastically...But by the mercy of God, peace has and brotherl love reign once again, and the coordinated, selfless labors of the parishioners have begun to bear fruit. Just how many parishioners we have now you will see for yourselves, for they all look forward to hearing your voices, the finest voices of our Church!”

The most renowned choir directors participated in the Conference, specialists in the art of church music and singers from American and Canadian Russia:

Priest Andrei Papkov and Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky, Prof. Marina Ledkovsky and Prof. Dennis Brierly, George Skok and Peter Fekula, Vladimir Krassovsky, Irina Mozyleva and Nicolas Schidlovsky. Of course, the list of Conferees is much longer. The choir director of St. Danilov Monastery in Moscow, Georgii Safonov, was invited as well.

A parish organizing committee coordinated the effort: Rector Fr. George Lagodich, the choir director of St. Nicholas Cathedral, Nicholas Androsoff, Ilya Dubelshtein and Matushka Nina Lagodich. No little help was provided to this difficult endeavor by Subdeacon Peter Paganuzzi and Gregory Borovik, two Cathedral basses, during the singing of the vigil, with two kliroses, and the hierarchal liturgy.

His Grace Bishop Gabriel, who heads the Eastern Canadian Diocese, arrived in time for Saturday vigil. Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky of St. Seraphim Church in Novo Diveevo, NY, and George Skok (Toronto), led the two choirs. On Sunday, 12 October, the combined choir during the liturgy was directed by George Safonov and Peter Fekula. Bishop Gabriel officiated in concelebration with Priests George Lagodich, Stelian Liabotis, Andrei Papkov and Michael Metni along with Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky and Deacon Vasilii Milonov.

The parishioners of St. Nicholas Cathedral know the hierarchal service well, and their choir is renowned for its splendor and harmony. But such masterly and powerful choral singing, especially of the two-kliros sort, was never before heard by even the elder worshipers, let alone the younger ones. After liturgy, all were invited to a festive trapeza luncheon prepared by the Cathedral Sisterhood headed by Olga Ivanovna Safoniuk. As a surprise for their guests, the song and dance ensemble “Russian Designs,” made up of students of the Cathedral’s A.S. Pushkin Parish School, gave a performance.

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