St. Tikhon’s Chamber Choir Shares the Beauty of Orthodox Music with Growing Public

Source: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological
Seminary


June 9, 2016

A diverse crowd of about 300 people attended
“Rejoice, O Mountains of Pennsylvania,” a
benefit concert for St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological
Seminary sung by the Chamber Choir of St. Tikhon’s
Monastery on Sunday, May 29 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal
Pro-Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre.

In addition to several hierarchs, dozens of clergy, and
many Orthodox faithful, the concert attracted at least 100
attendees who were not Orthodox.

“A husband and wife who were passing through the area
on the day of the concert heard a recording of the Chamber
Choir on WVIA, the NPR affiliate for Northeastern
Pennsylvania,” reported Benedict Sheehan, artistic
director of the Chamber Choir and professor of Orthodox
liturgical music at St. Tikhon’s Seminary. “They
were so taken with what they heard that they changed their
plans, stayed in Wilkes-Barre, and ended up buying
tickets. Many people received their first introduction to
Orthodox sacred music, and perhaps even to Orthodoxy,
because of this event.”

The Chamber Choir is a professional vocal ensemble whose
members include some of the finest solo and ensemble
singers in the New York area and throughout North America.
Several of the singers are also members of Grammy
Award-winning ensembles and appear as soloists with
professional opera companies around the country. Six
members have direct ties to St. Tikhon’s Seminary,
either as current students, alumni, or wives.

The choir’s debut album, “Till Morn Eternal Breaks: Sacred Choral
Music of Benedict Sheehan,” attracted the
attention of the regional arts media, as well as
various Orthodox media outlets, following its release
in 2015 and a celebratory concert on November 12 in New
York City.

In December, ArtScene with Erika Funke, a radio program
which brings attention to arts and cultural events in
Pennsylvania, featured an interview about the debut album
with Archimandrite Sergius, abbot of St. Tikhon’s
Monastery, and the Sheehans. In March, Vladimir
Morosan, a leading musicologist of Orthodox music,
reviewed the album during an episode of his podcast on Ancient Faith Radio.
Then, in April and May, WVIA featured two long-form
broadcasts of the album itself, exposing the
region’s classical music fans to Orthodox sacred
music.

“Beauty, as Dostoevsky said, saves the world. Beauty
is one of the things that the Church has to offer, and
making that beauty available to a wide audience can open
people’s hearts to deeper realities,”
Archimandrite Sergius said. “That’s why the
monastery is committed to supporting this choir and a
regular cycle of performances.”

“We look forward to hosting more concerts like
this in this region of the country, and maybe even
beyond,” Archpriest Dr. Steven Voytovich, Dean of St.
Tikhon’s Seminary, said. “The Chamber Choir is
one of the ways that the monastery and the seminary work
together for the life of the world and its
salvation.”

The presenting sponsor for the evening was Renovation Angel, a national
non-profit organization that recycles luxury kitchens
and donates proceeds to charity. Other major sponsors
included the Philadelphia Trust Company, the Patriarch
Tikhon Russian-American Music Institute, and the
Honesdale National Bank.

Sponsorships
for the choir’s 2016-2017 season are now available.
For more information please contact Benedict Sheehan at
benedict.sheehan@stots.edu.

St. Tikhon’s Orthodox
Theological Seminary

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