The Commission on Liturgical Music (CoLM) and Saints Peter & Paul Orthodox Church in Syracuse NY hosted a workshop, “The Character of Choir Singing,” on 23 July 2016. The highly regarded and accomplished facilitator, Mark Bailey, presented key points in lecture and demonstrated them by rehearsing a choir comprised of the thirty participants. He stressed the need for Orthodox music to illuminate the text; the role of music in matching form and function; and the need for choral style to confirm prayer/worship through appropriate pulse and rhythm. The workshop concluded with an open and candid question and answer session.
“Mark Bailey began his lecture with the premise that music has the ability to elevate liturgical texts to something out of the ordinary,” said Alexis Van Zalen of Rochester NY (professional musician and graduate of the Eastman School of Music). She continued, “He then demonstrated how specific musical characteristics, such as pulse, enhance text declamation. I especially appreciated how he used his information to guide us to sing in ways that emphasize the text.”
Matushka Natalie Stavrevsky, of Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Rochester NY, said: “A truly enriching experience: to be gathered with choir members of all ages, all with the common goal of enhancing our corporate choir ministries and our experience of Liturgy.”
The event, like all diocesan music conferences offered by CoLM, gathered a wide range of singers, choir directors, clergy, and various age groups. As always, it enabled fellowship, mutual support, and renewal of acquaintances in addition to invaluable learning.
Visit the CoLM website for resources and information: