I have witnessed clergy and altar boys in many parishes struggling with Christmas services. The canonical hours and the order of yaldo (from Ma`de`dono, The Book of Feasts) have numerous hymns which are set to melodies in the Beth Gazo (Ekkara) unfamiliar to the current generation in Malankara. Without preparation, improvisation on the fly becomes necessary often with very unpleasant results.
In the Syriac Orthodox Churches of the Middle East, those who serve at the altar have to learn the essentials before being admitted to the altar. They are usually not altar boys, but ordained to an order of deaconate. The first order of deaconate is 'mzamrono' - literally, the 'singer' - before being ordained they would have learnt the essential melodies of the Beth Gazo. In our monasteries in Europe, it is common to see large groups of young boys staying at the monastery especially over school breaks, undergoing training in the Syriac language, scripture, musical traditions, and in assisting liturgical services. They are only ordained after basic training.
We have to require similar training for those who serve at the altar and in the church choirs - but many obstacles stand in the way of mobilizing such training. However, we do have the ability to use the internet and technologies to at least provide the resources for those who care to learn.
Many of us have lamented about the indiscriminate adoption of secular music in our liturgical services in this forum and elsewhere; however, it seems to get worse over time. As you rightly state, we hear a lot of street proclamations of upholding traditions, but what we really see is indifference at all levels.
And the fallout of all this is not mere loss of traditional forms of worship; in many parishes, you find the congregation being mute spectators unable to or conditioned not to participate in liturgical services which are conducted according to the whims and fancies of a few. In this disengagement of the faithful from liturgical worship lies a formidable challenge for the Church.
Thomas Joseph, Ph.D.
--- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Vineeth John Abraham <vineethjohnabraham@...> wrote:
> Last week there was a discussion regarding "Perunal Srusrusha Kremam". Someone was telling its translated by IOC and why are we using the same? But let me ask something else.
> How many of the Altar Boys / Rev. Dn's know the tunes of those Songs?