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Re: [orthodox-readers] Re: Greetings, & choir directors

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  • Timothy Copple
    ... From: psaltisuk To: Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2002 4:53 PM Subject: [orthodox-readers] Re:
    Message 1 of 13 , May 30, 2002
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "psaltisuk" <ivanmoody@...>
      To: <orthodox-readers@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2002 4:53 PM
      Subject: [orthodox-readers] Re: Greetings, & choir directors

      Since we are sharing.... :-)

      I was tonsured a reader in 1998, and have read the epistle only a handful of
      times. Basically, we have a sub-deacon who is usually serving with the
      priest, while both tonsured readers along with some others do most of the
      chanting. Thus, since he doesn't do a whole lot, he tends to do the Epistles
      readings, we usually do the psalms and OT readings. Only problem with that
      is that it gives me and the other reader very few touches on the ball, so to
      speak, and so I'm sure there are some things about just reading the Epistle
      that I don't know how to do very well.

      There are certain things which are in Western notation, (like I've seen "He
      who was suspended from the tree" like this) with the notation "Chant like
      reading the Epistle." Thus, I know there are certain ways to chant it but we
      have never been taught them nor would we have much opportunity to practice
      it. Only when the sub-deacon is not there do we do this. Actually, this
      Sunday will be such a time since the priest is going to be out of town, we
      will be doing a Typika, and the sub-deacon will be reading the Gospel, which
      leaves the Epistle to me or the other reader.

      Anyway, our church has a choir director, and the priest's wife serves as a
      back up. The only time I've lead a liturgy (which is about the only time we
      have a "choir" going) is when there are not many people there, and then I
      usually just start singing and others join in. So, I don't have much to
      offer with insight into that question, but most of my duties revolve around
      making sure we do the services right and in a proper manner, organizing the
      chanters, and I do sing in the choir as well, bass. Thus, I'm rarely ever
      (though I have done it before) helping in the sanctuary or reading the
      Epistle.

      Also, on the note of the vesting to receive communion, I have asked my
      priest about it and some others who have been around, and none of them
      seemed to know what I was talking about, or recall readers doing such. Not
      saying it doesn't happen, obviously it does, but apparently it is a practice
      not done much around here or in our archdiocese.


      Rdr. Timothy Copple
    • Alex Vallens
      ... Indeed He is Risen! ... I m a tonsured Reader, choir member, Altar Sacristan, and I ve directed the Slavonic choir at our parish on occassion when the
      Message 2 of 13 , May 30, 2002
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        johnmblack wrote:

        > Greetings to you all, and Christ is risen!

        Indeed He is Risen!

        > Are any of you here share duties as a Reader and as the choir
        > director in your parish? I'd like some (both philosophical and
        > logistical) commentary on how the roles fit together in everyday
        > parish life. For example, I know a bona fide Reader should read the
        > Epistle whenever present, as opposed to a layman, but of course that
        > would be difficult with my involvement in the choir.

        I'm a tonsured Reader, choir member, Altar Sacristan, and I've directed the
        Slavonic choir at our parish on occassion when the choir director was in
        Russia. On a regular basis, I balance choir singing duites with Altar
        serving and reading duties. This is not always an easy task.

        When directing the choir, that was my primary and only duty at the
        service. I deferred to someone else to read, even someone not tonsured.
        When I try to do too much, I must remind myself that The Church adjusts
        to the needs of a particular community. An example, consider in some
        churches that don't have a Winding Sheet (Epitaphios, Plashanitza), the
        Antimension is used instead. Therefore, I believe it reasonable that if
        the most qualified choir director is the only tonsured Reader, he will
        direct the choir and someone else will read.

        Naturally, if you are much more talented than I, and can balance reading
        the Epistle with directing the choir, that's great, but I'm speaking on
        behalf of those less able to read and direct the singing of the
        Prokeimenon and Alleluia. :-)

        > Also, I get the impression from some friends of mine who are Readers
        > elsewhere in the diocese or region that Readers should take on
        > responsibilities assisting the clergy in services. (Perhaps that's
        > more due to local situations, where a Reader started out as an altar
        > boy; I don't know.) :-)

        I certainly began as an Altar server, but that has no bearing on my
        reading and singing. Again, my first duty is where I'm needed most. I
        primarily read when and wherever other Readers are absent (which, at our
        church, ends up being most of the time besides Liturgy, where instead we
        have a weekly rotation of all tonsured Readers who wish to do so), sing
        whenever there are not enough basses and/or tenors, and finally serve
        otherwise. I ended up being the head Reader, despite being the youngest,
        because I was the only one that came to services consistently, and
        therefore tend to have reading as a first priority. Singing is my next
        most-important responsibility, as our choir director, the priest's wife
        (Matushka, Presbytera) requests my presence. I enjoy singing, but tend
        to do it Sunday under obedience to her (yes, that's right, obedience to
        the Priest's wife) as it can become laborsome, not necessarily
        spiritually edifying, on Sundays. Altar serving, even as head Altar
        server and Sacristan, is my last responsibility, as we tend to have
        others who can do this. On a weekday, I may need to help at the
        Entrances, but again, it's a matter of necessity. Simply speaking, I
        concentrate on my first job at hand as much as I need to in order to
        make the service run as smoothly, correctly, and spiritually edefying
        for the faithful as possible. That, I believe, is my responsibility.

        > I'm also very intrigued by the whole "vesting" discussion that went
        > on a few months ago. I, too, had never realized the implications of
        > the Sticharion to a Reader (partly because there were no Readers in
        > any of the parishes I grew up in.) I'm glad I read through those
        > messages, becase this Sunday will be the first "normal" Liturgy since
        > my tonsuring and I hadn't thought of any of those issues. I'll
        > report back as to what our custom turns out to be.

        Ever since I was a simple Altar server I have always seen the reader,
        tonsured or not (male, of course), wear a Stikharion. However, it was
        not until well after becoming a Reader that I learned of the cassock and
        Stikharion. The signifigance of the Stikharion is clear, as this is the
        garment that the Bishop blesses the Reader to wear at his tonsuring. As
        such, it is reasonable to conclude that it should be worn whenever
        participating (i.e. performing the duties to which he is ordained) in
        the Divine services, and whenever receiving communion. This is
        comparable to priests and deacons required to wear, at the bear minimum,
        stoles (oraria or epitrachelia) and cuffs when doing the same.
        Furthermore, the cassock is the sign of the clergy. Although our bishop
        disagrees with this assesment, the canons state that ALL clergy must
        wear simple attire and proper liturgical dress (read: cassocks and
        vestments when appropriate). Therefore, I ALWAYS wear my cassock
        whenever in church, usually when on church grounds, and typically at
        church functions. Our bishop hasn't caught me on this regard, and has
        furthermore blessed me to wear the skufia outside of the Divine
        services, unless outdoors. Be forewarned, however, as your mileage may
        vary by individual community and jurisdiction.

        I hope this was not too boring, and at least partly helpful.

        Christ is Risen!
        Indeed He is Risen!

        With love in Our Risen Lord,
        Reader Alexander Vallens
        (Alex)
      • Theophan
        Reader Timothy Copple wrote, « ... the notation Chant like reading the Epistle. Thus, I know there are certain ways to chant it but we have never been
        Message 3 of 13 , May 31, 2002
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          Reader Timothy Copple wrote, « ... the notation "Chant like reading the
          Epistle." Thus, I know there are certain ways to chant it but we have never
          been taught them... »

          I'm curious about this, too. In our little mission parish, and in at least
          one other place I've been, the Epistle is chanted with a slowly rising pitch
          as it progresses. That is, the chanter starts chanting in the usual style
          but in a fairly low pitch, and then several times through the reading,
          raises that pitch by a half-step, so by the end of the reading, he is
          chanting in a considerably higher pitch than he began. I think I have
          gathered that this is the practice in many places in the ROCOR, and I think
          I've been told that it is the practice at the Jordanville monastery, but I
          may be wrong.

          On a few occasions, there has been no one to read the Epistle but me, though
          I am a lay member, so with the priest's blessing, I chanted the Epistle, but
          I never had tried chanting the way I just described, and somehow was afraid
          I would mess it up, and I've simply chanted the Epistle the way I chant
          other things in church.

          So I'm curious, too, is one way strongly to be preferred over others? Or is
          it just up to the priest, or the reader, or the Jurisdiction? (I'm in the
          ROCOR.)

          If I need to do it again, one day, I certainly will try to do it the other
          way if that's what I should do.

          Thanks!

          Theophan Dort
        • johnmblack
          ... Unfortunately I haven t been told any specific rules. What are those bishop s opinions? (I m just asking out of curiosity, to see what the opinion of the
          Message 4 of 13 , May 31, 2002
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            --- In orthodox-readers@y..., "Reader Michael J. Bishop"
            <Reader.Michael2@v...> wrote:
            > [...]
            > somebody came up with some rules, one of which
            > said that a Reader should wear his cassock only
            > during the services. However, this apparently
            > is not the rule that several bishops whom I know
            > impose.

            Unfortunately I haven't been told any specific rules.
            What are those bishop's opinions? (I'm just asking
            out of curiosity, to see what the opinion of the
            average Orthodox bishop is. I know ultimately it's
            what _my_ bishop thinks that matters, :-) but I'd
            still like to know.)

            > Monday I was at a monastery most of the day and I
            > was in cassock all day. Nobody told me that it
            > was inappropriate for me to wear my cassock. In
            > fact, one priest told me that I am supposed to be
            > in my cassock there. He also said that I am
            > supposed to be in cassock if I attend any church
            > related function, including the local Greek
            > festivals, etc.

            I agree wholeheartedly. It's interesting to note
            that in ancient times, cassock-like garments were
            even worn by the laity. For those of us who have
            been ordained/tonsured/blessed into service, it is
            our permanent liturgical garment, and we should wear
            it for any Orthodox liturgical function, home or
            away. As for church-sponsored social events, I
            suppose it's more of a grey area, but ask yourself:
            "Am I (or could I be perceived as) representing the
            Church in any way?" Obviously, if you came to
            church to do painting or yard work, that's different.
            On the flip side, I'm not so sure about wearing it
            totally outside of church (like all day at home, etc.)
            That seems a bit weird. :-) But that's just me.

            > My former Bishop saw me in cassock at a church
            > where the President of the United States spoke.
            > This definitely was not a religious activity and,

            But it was in an Orthodox church, right? Then you did
            the right thing. I guess a general rule of thumb
            would be "any time you are participating in any
            liturgical function, or on church grounds for any
            church-sponsored event."

            > [...] Now I own five cassocks, including one gray
            > which I wear during Pascha season. I discussed
            > this with my former priest before I had it made and
            > he told me not to get white because it will get dirty
            > too easily. So I chose gray. My Bishop saw me in it
            > last year. This year I wore the black.

            I was under the impression that the custom of colored
            cassocks for married clergy only applied to the rank of
            Priest. What have other people experienced in this
            regard?

            -j

            Rdr John M. Black
            johnmblack@...
          • johnmblack
            ... The styles of chanting vary from culture to culture as much as the music traditions do. For example, the custom of reading the Epistle in chromatic
            Message 5 of 13 , May 31, 2002
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              --- "Timothy Copple" <Timothy@r...> wrote:
              > There are certain things which are in Western
              > notation, (like I've seen "He who was suspended
              > from the tree" like this) with the notation
              > "Chant like reading the Epistle." Thus, I know
              > there are certain ways to chant it but we have
              > never been taught them nor would we have much
              > opportunity to practice it.

              The styles of chanting vary from culture to
              culture as much as the music traditions do. For
              example, the custom of reading the Epistle in
              chromatic fashion is a particularly Russian
              custom, and even then I think it only began in the
              17-1800s with the influence of the western music
              academia. (I could be wrong on that -- anyone
              know for sure?)

              Regardless of the particular [musical] style used
              for chanting various things, I think the style of
              chanting depends on what is being read -- almost
              like a "hierarchy". Chanting for OT readings and
              Psalms should be the least stylized (or simplest.)
              The Epistle and Prokeimenae should be more
              stylized, and then the Gospel should be the most
              stylized.

              Some people I've talked to about this also feel
              that chanting in general should be less stylized
              during Great Lent.

              Thoughts?

              Rdr John
            • Timothy Copple
              ... From: johnmblack To: Sent: Friday, May 31, 2002 11:11 AM Subject: [orthodox-readers] Chanting
              Message 6 of 13 , May 31, 2002
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                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "johnmblack" <johnmblack@...>
                To: <orthodox-readers@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Friday, May 31, 2002 11:11 AM
                Subject: [orthodox-readers] Chanting styles


                > --- "Timothy Copple" <Timothy@r...> wrote:
                > > There are certain things which are in Western
                > > notation, (like I've seen "He who was suspended
                > > from the tree" like this) with the notation
                > > "Chant like reading the Epistle." Thus, I know
                > > there are certain ways to chant it but we have
                > > never been taught them nor would we have much
                > > opportunity to practice it.
                >
                > The styles of chanting vary from culture to
                > culture as much as the music traditions do. For
                > example, the custom of reading the Epistle in
                > chromatic fashion is a particularly Russian
                > custom, and even then I think it only began in the
                > 17-1800s with the influence of the western music
                > academia. (I could be wrong on that -- anyone
                > know for sure?)

                Yes, I would gather. The music I've seen in our (Antiochian) archdiocese
                that indicates "Chant like the Epistle" is not in the chromatic fashion
                (moving gradually higher and higher), though I have heard that several
                times. I've also heard it done where it goes up, and then somewhere
                mid-point, it begins to go back down. Personally, I find that style very
                distracting to me. It builds a tension in me that grows with each step up
                and I find it very difficult to really pay attention to the words, more so
                than normal. That's just me, however. Thus, I would probably only use that
                style if told to by a bishop or priest specifically. I would, however, like
                to learn the style for my own archdiocese, but that is one of the things we
                don't do here. Our sub-deacon who usually reads the Epistle, does so without
                chanting, in a spoken voice. However, he is one of the few in our
                archdiocese who I've seen do that, most chant in some fashion. Thus,
                whenever I read it, I usually plain chant it as I do other text.

                However, if I took that music which says to "Chant like an Epistle", I could
                probably use that as a basis for learning how to do it in that fashion. So
                maybe I will practice a bit tomorrow since there is a high likelihood that I
                will be reading it Sunday.

                >
                > Regardless of the particular [musical] style used
                > for chanting various things, I think the style of
                > chanting depends on what is being read -- almost
                > like a "hierarchy". Chanting for OT readings and
                > Psalms should be the least stylized (or simplest.)
                > The Epistle and Prokeimenae should be more
                > stylized, and then the Gospel should be the most
                > stylized.

                I've gathered that. We simply speak the OT and Psalm readings, so that is
                fairly simple. Then as I said above, I've used a plain chant for Epistle
                readings, trying not to make it too fancy so as not to end up approaching
                the way our priest reads the Gospel.

                >
                > Some people I've talked to about this also feel
                > that chanting in general should be less stylized
                > during Great Lent.

                That I haven't heard before, but it would seem to fit if one had the degrees
                down to do it. Much to eventually learn here. :-)


                Rdr. Timothy Copple
              • Reader Michael J. Bishop
                Christ is risen! Thank you, Reader Alexander, for your explanation. My priest told me that since I am a tonsured Reader, I should wear my cassock at any
                Message 7 of 13 , Jun 1, 2002
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                  Christ is risen!

                  Thank you, Reader Alexander, for your explanation. My priest told me that
                  since I am a tonsured Reader, I should wear my cassock at any church function.
                  I have been doing this in my former jurisdiction and my bishop has seen me in
                  cassock at banquets, presidential speech, picnics, etc. Every year I try to
                  attend the pilgrimage at St. Tikhon Monastery and I wear my cassock and the
                  abbott and rector saw me there the last two years in cassock and this year he
                  personally greeted me with "Christ is risen" as he was heading in the opposite
                  direction.

                  If I am not serving, I do not vest to receive Communion. My bishop has seen me
                  with the skufia outside and has not said anything yet. I generally put my
                  cassock on before I leave home and take it off when I arrive home. One reason
                  that I do this is to remind people that God is. If I can help turn one person
                  around, it would be well worth the less than minimum effort that I make. Last
                  week I took a big bag of clothes to church for shipment to Russia because my
                  neighbor across the street has seen me in cassock and when I approached her in
                  cassock and requested that she donate anything that does not sell in her yard
                  sale to the church, she was delighted to do so.

                  Reader Michael

                  Alex Vallens wrote:

                  > jEver since I was a simple Altar server I have always seen the reader,
                  > tonsured or not (male, of course), wear a Stikharion. However, it was
                  > not until well after becoming a Reader that I learned of the cassock and
                  > Stikharion. The signifigance of the Stikharion is clear, as this is the
                  > garment that the Bishop blesses the Reader to wear at his tonsuring. As
                  > such, it is reasonable to conclude that it should be worn whenever
                  > participating (i.e. performing the duties to which he is ordained) in
                  > the Divine services, and whenever receiving communion. This is
                  > comparable to priests and deacons required to wear, at the bear minimum,
                  > stoles (oraria or epitrachelia) and cuffs when doing the same.
                  > Furthermore, the cassock is the sign of the clergy. Although our bishop
                  > disagrees with this assesment, the canons state that ALL clergy must
                  > wear simple attire and proper liturgical dress (read: cassocks and
                  > vestments when appropriate). Therefore, I ALWAYS wear my cassock
                  > whenever in church, usually when on church grounds, and typically at
                  > church functions. Our bishop hasn't caught me on this regard, and has
                  > furthermore blessed me to wear the skufia outside of the Divine
                  > services, unless outdoors. Be forewarned, however, as your mileage may
                  > vary by individual community and jurisdiction.
                  >
                  > I hope this was not too boring, and at least partly helpful.
                  >
                  > Christ is Risen!
                  > Indeed He is Risen!
                  >
                  > With love in Our Risen Lord,
                  > Reader Alexander Vallens
                  > (Alex)
                  >
                  > -

                  --
                  Reader Michael J. Bishop
                  12 E Read St
                  Baltimore MD 21202-2459
                  410-752-7270 voice
                  410-752-7362 fax/modem

                  Personal web site: http://www.Michael-Bishop.com and
                  http://www.ReaderMichael.com

                  E-mail for personal messages: Reader@... or
                  Arch@...
                  E-mail for lists: ReaderMichael@...

                  Baltimore Orthodox web site: http://www.BaltimoreOrthodox.org
                  Washington Orthodox web site: http://www.WashingtonOrthodox.org
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