At the invitation of Mother Christophora, Abbess, and the Sisterhood of the Monastery of the Transfiguration here, young adults ages 18 through 29 participated in a weekend music workshop and retreat June 23-25, 2017.
Workshop sessions were conducted by Harrison Russin, Lecturer in Liturgical Music, Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY, and Mother Seraphima, Transfiguration Monastery choir director. Among the musical selections learned by the participants were liturgical works by G. L’vovsky and N. Kedrov, Sr., in addition to pieces by American composers, including Archpriests Sergei Glagolev and Igor Soroka, Mark Bailey, and Monk Martin. Other sacred music included 16th century English polyphony by W. Byrd, T. Tallis, and O. Gibbons, and 19th century American shape note hymns by W. Walker and J. Christopher.
“The group sang the responses to the Divine Liturgy at the monastery on Sunday, June 25,” Mother Seraphima said. “In the afternoon, they also presented a public concert, which attracted nearly 70 people.”
“In the past, families and friends enjoyed singing together for recreation and fellowship, but this practice has become rather rare in our current day of recorded digital music, often listened to by personal headphones,” said Mother Christophora in reflecting on the impact of the workshop. “Singing is helpful for one’s emotional and spiritual health, known to relieve anxiety and stress, and fellowship among young Orthodox Christians can be enhanced by time spent together singing. Knowledge of their faith will also be enhanced by learning to sing liturgical services, and parish choirs will benefit from the youth attending such workshops and returning home with new skills and new music.”
The workshop was held during the 50th anniversary year of the groundbreaking for the monastery, which occurred on August 11, 1967.
“In the early documents of the vision for the monastery, it is stated that a guesthouse would be built to offer traditional hospitality and that the monastery would especially reach out to youth who want to learn more about their Orthodox Faith,” Mother Seraphima added. “Coincidentally, the day after the concert, work began at the monastery for the building of a new guesthouse, Tabor House, which will supplement the original, now aging, guest facilities.”