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National Church Music Sunday Commemorated On October 3rd

Three Greek Orthhodox Choir Directors receive Archbishop Demetrios; Years of Service Award

Three dedicated church musicians of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America will be honored on National Church Music Sunday, October 3, 2004. This day is designated as an annual Archdiocese-wide commemoration that occurs on the first Sunday in October, following the Feast of St. Romanos the Melodist, the patron saint of church musicians.

National Church Music Sunday has been set aside to honor the contributions that choir directors, choir members, organists, psaltai, and Church School/Greek School music educators make to their parishes. In addition, it is a day when the work of the eight Metropolitan Church Music Federations and the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians is recognized. Many local parishes hold special recognition events on National Church Music Sunday for their church musicians.

As a service to the parishes, the National Forum recently mailed a specially-designed poster to commemorate National Church Music Sunday 2004 to each parish priest and choir director in the Archdiocese. The full-color poster was created by renowned artist Rip Kastaris of St, Louis, MO. The poster depicts the hymnographer, St. John of Damascus, and highlights the following passage from his writings: "Let us arise at deep dawn, and instead of fragrant oil, let us offer a hymn to our Lord."

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. These individuals will be honored in their home parishes with a Years of Service medal depicting St. Romanos the Melodist, the patron saint of church musicians. They will also receive a certificate of recognition for their "outstanding musical and spiritual contributions to the Greek Orthodox Community of America." The National Forum administers the award for the Archdiocese.

Since the inception of the award in 1988, 271 choir directors have received the Years of Service medal.

The names, parishes, and years as choir directors who are receiving the 2004 service awards include:

Heidi Mason
Annunciation
Brockton, MA
27 years of service

Constantine Kotulas
Holy Cross
Justice, IL
25 years of service

Anthony Plataniotis
Assumption
Springfield, OH
25 years of service

Dr. Vicki Pappas, National Chairman of the Church Musicians Forum, commented on National Church Music Sunday. She urged all parishes "to honor their local church musicians for their dedicated service to their parish through its hymnography, who give of their time and talents Sunday after Sunday, year after year." She also encouraged parishes to use National Church Music Sunday "to support the work of the Church Music Federations of their Metropolis and to be generous in their contributions to the National Church Music Ministries Fund in support of much-needed national liturgical music programs. All these commemorative activities during the month of October enhance and support further development of the liturgical music ministry of our Archdiocese."