Seventeenth Church Music Conference Held

The 17th Church Music Conference was held in the city of Santa Rosa, CA, from October 6-10, 2004, with the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, organized by the Church Music Committee of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. A great deal of effort was devoted by the local Church Music Committee, and also the Organizing Committee at the Parish of SS Peter and Paul, headed by its rector, Protopriest Alexander Krassovsky.

The central theme of the Conference was the liturgical chants of the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra, as a result of which the main speaker was Deacon Dimitry Bolgarsky, clergyman and choir director of Holy Trinity-St Jonah Monastery in Kiev. He is also a teacher of church singing at Kiev Theological Academy and Seminary, and is also a faculty member of the Church Music Department of Kiev Conservatory.


Opening his lecture with a color film of contemporary life of the residents of Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra, Deacon Dimitry gave a detailed account on the special features of the Kievo-Pechersky chants, thanks to which the chants represent a unique phenomenon within the treasury of Russian ecclesiastical culture. This outline of the Kievo-Pechersky chants was traced from the theoretical to the practical level. Deacon Dimitry held a series of rehearsals during which the participants of the Conference were able to experience the specifics of Kievo-Pechersky singing, and all the requirements demanded of the church singer by this music. The choir directors P. Fekula, S. Schidlowsky and O. Reutt also held rehearsals with different repertoires.

Other lectures included:

1. Prof. M.V. Ledkovsky: "V.K. Hoecke's Contribution towards the Liturgical Life of the Russian Diaspora."

2. Priest Lavrenty Margetich: "Liturgical Singing from the Pastoral Point of View."

Besides the lectures, the following events were also held:

1. "Using Computer Program"—O. Reott.
2. "Voice"—Priest Andre Papkov.
3. "Solfeggio"—A. Roudenko.
4. "Singing by the Sputnik Psalomshchika"—E. Perekrestov.

On Friday evening, a Russian quartet, "Sankt-Peterburg," under the direction of Irina Grinberg, arrived at the hotel and gave a concert for the Conference participants. A number of compositions by Chesnokov, Kastal'sky, Bortniansky, Tchaikowsky and others were performed; the second part included Russian folk songs. The Conferees were thrilled by the concert.

On Saturday, combining business and pleasure, the organizers offered two trips: one to Fort Ross, the other to local wineries, where the finest California wines are made. Both trips were enjoyed greatly by the conferees.

A regular meeting of the Church Music Committee of the Synod of Bishops was held that day: current matters were discussed, which included the publishing of notes, the organization of diocesan church music committees locally, which do not yet exist, as well as the question of the location of the next Church Music Committee, to be held next year. It was decided to organize the Conference in the New York area, and if possible, to hold the services at Novo-Diveevo Convent.

On Saturday evening and Sunday morning, the services were led by His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, along with Protopriest Alexei Poluektov, Protopriest Alexander Krassovsky and Priest Andre Papkov, along with Protodeacon Nicholas Triantafillidis and Deacon Sergei Arlievsky. During the services, the newly-learned Kievo-Pechersky chants resounded, performed by two choirs consisting of the conference participants. On Sunday, after liturgy, a splendid luncheon was offered, organized by Matushka Tatiana Olegovna Pavlenko and her assistants. Also to be thanked are the Parish Rector, Protopriest Alexander Krassovsky, the President of the Organizing Committee, S. Schidlovsky and his helpers: M. Kirchansky, A KRassovsky, M. Mogilev, I. Poluektov, O. Reott, D. Shikaloff, Y. Sokoloff and A. Zaharoff, who flawlessly organized the event. May the All-merciful Lord reward His earnest servants for their efforts.

Priest Andre Papkov