Re: Why do we have choirs?
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Samuel Herron
> **** His became the /basis/, but I do want to know, and I am askingbut
> because I really honestly don't know, did Sakellarides write his music
> with Organ parts? Did he write the harmonic parts in? Of what I have
> seen of his work he wrote in very simple, non-formulaic Byzantine
> notation. I have seen also the western pieces based off Sakellarides
> with an organ added. Now if I am wrong and he did write the organ inand
> harmonies himself then forgive me, but if what I think is true, he onlylike
> harmonized, he did not add instruments.
> IF this is true, which if it isnt then this paragraph is useless, then
> America didnt use what is inherited, they added on to what was
> inherited. Honestly I think the best example of what BM would sound
> of they strictly stuck to Sakkellarides work would be what one hears inDear Sam:
> American Antiochian Parishes that use the music of Basil Kazan, who
> modeled most of his off Sakellarides. That is much closer to
> Sakkellarides then what I hear in most Greek Choirs.
Sakellarides did transcribe some of his melodies into staff notation
and, in the earliest ones I have seen, added some harmonizations in
the form of parallel thirds. He did not do this for all modes, mostly
Second Tone and Fourth Tone. Also, in some of his compositions, such
as his Cherubic hymns, he added notes to create chords. There were no
organ parts, nor was there any contrapuntal polyphony, so you are
correct that these came later in America. In fact, in the forward of
his hymnal, George Anastassiou takes credit for introducing the use of
the electronic organ in the Greek Orthodox Church, and justifies it by
his claim that a water organ was used in some of the larger ancient
So, my point was that these melodies, and their subsequent
harmonizations and instrumentation by others have been going on for
over three generations and thus are perceived by today's American
choirs as their received tradition, which is endorsed by their
hierarchy and clergy.
I just want to understand your point. Are you saying that today's
American choirs have become a kind of "necessary" diversion from
Orthodox tradition because their elimination would cause more problems
than it would solve? If this is the case, then I assume you do not
feel that today's music causes any threats to our spiritual
well-being, as I have heard some suggest in the past.
- --- In email@example.com, "Stan Takis" <takistan@...>
>(Responding late, sorry)
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "dananetherton" <dana@>
> > One practical benefit has to do with the shortage of skilled
> > cantors.
> > Another is (let's be frank) the opportunity it affords our devoted
> > ladies to take an active role in the worship of the Church.
> Dear Dana:
> True. And let's not forget the assimilation issue. We are still
> assimilating. The US is overwhelmingly Protestant and Catholic, and
> there are many in our Orthodox Church who do not see why we cannot
> be more like them.
"Still assimilating" ... could be, could be. At the same time, of
course, Nia Vardolos fought off Hollywood attempts to change "My Big
Fat Greek Wedding" into something Jewish, or Italian -- because by gum
she *didn't* want the distinctively *Greek-American* elements in her
story to be assimilated into the generic "Mediterranean immigrant" story.
And thanks to the clout that Rita Wilson (producer, and Tom Hanks's
Greek-American wife -- on whose behalf *he* became Orthodox) had built
up in Hollywood, she didn't have to.
And Michael Constantine (for one) could finally *play* a Big Fat Role
that is in his own ethnic background -- perhaps his 5th "Greek"
character in a 35+ year career with 164 appearances (according to
This is consistent with what's happening with other ethnic groups in
America: the byword is no longer "melting pot", getting melted into
"Americans"; the byword is "diversity" and "heritage".
So the assimilation process no longer has to go on to the point where
visible Greek-ness (and visible Orthodoxy) disappears. The "Greek"
part of "Greek-American" (and by extension the "Orthodox" part of
"Greek Orthodox") no longer has to disappear in favor of the
Perhaps it's the younger generation (like Nia Vardolos and Rita
Wilson) that recognizes this, and the older generation that still
clings to the old model of assimilation?
But it's true that assimilation has been part of the history. Back
when I was regularly on Usenet, a cynical Greek-American who also
regularly posted there asserted that the GOA would be gone in another
generation or two -- as the young bail out to join the Protestant
churches, while the old insist on using Greek-and-only-Greek.
That mindset *can* cripple a parish -- I know an OCA parish in my
metro area that nearly perished because of it (different ethnic, same
Perhaps the younger generation -- those members who stick with the
Church despite these frustrations -- will be the ones to break free of
the "assimilation" approach to Orthodoxy. That's certainly the age
range where I see interest in learning Chant. And it's certainly the
age range where (in my own little parochial patch) I see zero interest
in joining the choir.
-- Dana Netherton