Three Greek Orthodox Choir Directors Receive Archbishop Demetrios' Years of Service Award and Holy Trinity Cathedral of Toledo, Ohio Receives Church Music Sunday Celebration Award
Three dedicated church musicians of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America will be honored on National Church Music Sunday, October 7, 2005, the first Sunday after the Feast Day of St. Romanos, patron saint of church musicians.
This day is designated as an annual Archdiocese-wide commemoration of the contributions that choir directors, choir members, organists, psaltai, and Church School/Greek School music educators make to their parishes. In addition, that Sunday is 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.
This year, three church musicians who have served for more than 25 years as choir directors received 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 National Forum administers the award for the Archdiocese. Since the inception of the award in 1988, 292 choir directors have received the Years of Service medal. The names, parishes, and years as choir directors who are receiving the 2007 service awards include:
Maria Alex St. Spyridon Clarksburg, WV 25 years
Chris Giannopoulos St. George Albuquerque, NM 25 years
Deanne Keltner Sts. Constantine & Helen Monroe, LA 25 years
A singular honor for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese was the FIRST PLACE award presented to Holy Trinity Cathedral in Toledo OH in a contest sponsored by the multi-denominational National Religious Music Week Alliance to recognize the best ideas for celebrating National Religious Music Week, which they designate as the last week of September. Holy Trinity placed first among all the other denominations that submitted entries! The Alliance presented Holy Trinity with a check for $500 to use in support of their music ministry.
As a service to the parishes, the National Forum recently mailed a specially-designed poster to commemorate National Church Music Sunday 2007 to each parish priest and choir director in the Archdiocese. The full-color poster was designed by George Theodossiou of Brockton, MA. This year’s poster depicts the Synaxsis of the Archangels, and highlights the following passage from the canon: “The ranks of the Bodiless Powers, Lord, as the stand beside the throne of Your Glory, honor you with unceasing voices, for You O Lord, are their strength and their song.”
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."