It seems to me that the only way to go is to continue to create psaltic community; it’s the way that comes to mind to express it at this point. This simply means that “those who have ears to hear” continue to work in their corner of the world. I think one such person is Dr Nicholas Giannoukakis, the protopsaltes of the metropolis of Pittsburgh and founder and principal of the American Society of Byzantine Music and Hymnology. After a successful International Conference in Athens this past September, he organized a concert to be held at a Roman Catholic University in Naples, Florida (Roman Catholic, imagine that; I don’t think there’s ever been a visiting choir at Holy Cross!). It just now came to my attention. The reviews I’ve read have been glowing. I’m attaching the press release below.
Maybe Dr Nick can offer more background and experiences from the event?
Ave Maria University Hosts Renowned Byzantine Choir
NAPLES, FL — November 2007 — The Byzantine Choir of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh will perform a lecture and concert at 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 19, 2008 at the Oratory of Ave Maria University (AMU). The department of classics and early Christian Literature is sponsoring the performance and tickets are $10 for the public and free to AMU students.
The conert will feature choral singing, reflecting the traditions and poetry from ancient Greek times through the revolutions of the 12th through 16th centuries. The choir will also perform English and French renditions of well-known hymns that evolved from the Hellenic and Byzantine traditions. Guest soloists will be George Hatzichronoglou, Archon Hymnodist of the Great Christ from Greece, and Professor Constantin Lagouros, Archon Protopsaltis of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto (Canada), two of the most reknowned Byzantine chanters worldwide.
The choir, under the direction of Dr. Nicholas Giannoukakis, performs the Byzantine hymnography in a way that reflects the constants of symmetry and beauty of form found with the music. The pieces performed are meant to represent the living art — as birth, death and resurrection — and modern-day tradition of the Orthodox Church.
The Byzantine Choir will also chant the Divine Liturgy at 8:20 a.m. and will perform a medley of sacred and secular songs at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 20, 2008 at Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Church, 7100 Airport-Pulling Rd., Naples, Fla.
You can download Dr. Niko’s programme notes here.