2005 News Archives

National Church Music Sunday Commemorated on October 2nd

Fourteen Greek Orthodox Choir Directors

Receive Archbishop Demetrios' Years of Service Award

On Sunday, October 2nd, parishes throughout the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese will celebrate National Church Music Sunday. This day is designated as the annual Archdiocese-wide commemoration of all church musicians. It occurs each year on the first Sunday in October, following the Feast of St. Romanos the Melodist, the patron saint of church musicians.

On National Church Music Sunday, all parishes will honor the contributions that choir directors, choir members, organists, psaltai, and Church School/Greek School music educators make. In addition, it is a day when the work of the eight Metropolis Church Music Federations and the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians is recognized.

National Church Music Sunday is also the day when church musicians who have served for more than 25 years as choir directors receive personal recognition from His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios. This year, fourteen dedicated church musicians of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America will be honored in their home parishes with a Years of Service medal depicting St. Romanos the Melodist. The National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians administers the award on behalf of the Archdiocese.

The names, parishes, and years as choir directors who are receiving the 2005 Years of Service awards include:

Venetia Flodman St. Demetrios Camarillo, CA 32

Rena Meintanis All Saints Joliet, IL 26

Presv. Evelyn Adams Nativity of Christ Novato, CA 25

John Arambages St. George Lynn, MA 25

Andrew Athetis (posthumously) Zoodochos Peghe Hot Springs, AR 25

Barbara Bowman St. George St. Paul, MN 25

Dr. Alex Christ St. Haralambos Canton, OH 25

Sophia Cox Holy Trinity/St. John Jackson, MS 25

Karen Gartelos St. Demetrios Waterloo, IA 25

Despina Macres St. Mary Minneapolis, MN 25

Golden Noel St. Iakovos Valparaiso, IN 25

Leah Pappas Holy Trinity Hicksville, NY 25

Cindy Rodolakis St. Luke East Longmeadow, MA 25

Stephanie Zeremenko All Saints Canonsburg, PA 25

The fourteen recipients will also receive a letter from His Eminence thanking them for their "valued offering to the ecclesial community." Also in the letter, His Eminence describes how "St. Ignatius wrote to the Church in Ephesus encouraging every Christian to join in communal singing so that they may with one voice be heard by God, the Father, and be recognized through their good deeds as members of the body of Christ." Since the inception of the award in 1988, 285 choir directors have received the Years of Service medal. Their years of service range from 25 years to 65 years! Most of the recipients are still directing!

Many local parishes hold special recognition events on National Church Music Sunday for their choirs and psaltai. The National Forum recently mailed a custom-designed poster commemorating National Church Music Sunday 2005 to each parish priest and choir director in the Archdiocese. Renowned artist Rip Kastaris of St. Louis, MO created a full-color poster of hymnographer/poet Thekla the Nun for the Forum, as he has for the past five years.

Each Proistamenos and choir director also received a resource packet containing suggestions for commemorating Church Music Sunday, including a new "Commissioning Service for Church Musicians" offered by the Rev. Aristotle Damaskos of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Toledo, OH. Also included in the resource packet was the most recent issue of the National Forum's MUSICA periodical, an article by Stanley Takis entitled "A Primer on the Byzantine Musical System." These resources were presented as the National Forum's gift to the parishes.

Dr. Vicki Pappas, National Chairman of the Church Musicians Forum, commented on National Church Music Sunday. She urged all parishes "to take time during the month of October to recognize the stewardship of their local church musicians who, Sunday after Sunday, year after year, serve their parishes and enhance the worship of the faithful through the hymnography of the Orthodox Church." She also encouraged parishes to use National Church Music Sunday "to recognize the work of the Church Music Federation of their Metropolis and to be generous in their financial contributions to the National Forum's Church Music Ministry Fund, which supports much-needed liturgical music programs and resources in the entire Archdiocese.

Orthodox Observer Online