2017 National Forum Meeting Summary
Representatives from each Metropolis in our Archdiocese met at St. Nicholas Shrine Church in Flushing, NY for the Annual Meeting of the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians. The Rev. Paul Palesty, Proistamenos, was a gracious host and shared insights about church music from a clergy perspective with the group.
Among the many topics the representatives discussed was the completion of the new pew hymnal which includes both the text and music for the Divine Liturgy approved by the Holy Eparchial Synod. Publication is anticipated by this fall, with distribution through the Department of Religious Education. In addition to the pew hymnal, the National Forum is updating its instructional series, Hymn of the Orthodox Faith, to include the new text and music. This will also be available in the fall to church schools and families. To assist choirs and parishes in the transition with the new sira of the Divine Liturgy, the National Forum and kits affiliate Metropolis Church Music Federations will be scheduling a series of Church Music Institutes. These will be coordinated with each Metropolitan for his Metropolis. Updates to the National Forum website (www.churchmusic.org) will soon include references to established schools of chant and resources available to chanters as well as other resources for choir directors, congregational singing, and clergy. Another major area of emphasis is the development of youth choirs and transitioning youth choir singers into the adult choir. The Forum is developing a list of youth workers in each Metropolis and will coordinate available materials and resources with them.
One of the highlights of the meeting was an excursion and guided tour of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at Ground Zero. Andrew Vienopoulos, the project manager, met the Forum representatives and gave them a tour of the interior. It is a magnificent structure and one of which we should all be proud! The view from the shrine is mind boggling and the structure can be seen from many vantage points. The church musicians sang Eonia I Mnimi and Ti Ipermacho inside the structure, and then had the opportunity to sign the wall! It was a moving and emotional experience.
It is again emphasized that the church musicians of the National Forum are available to assist parishes and choirs/chanters with resources to improve the worship experience of the faithful.
Submitted by Maria Keritsis, National Chairman