On Saturday 9 March, Holy Resurrection Church in Wayne NJ welcomed nineteen young people to sing and learn about Orthodox liturgical music. The workshop ~ “Making Music with Kids” ~ was under the direction and leadership of David Lucs (choir director and composer from Long Island NY) as he guided the children through a program introducing basic concepts of music and four hymns for the upcoming season of Lent and Pascha. “The children were a joy to work with,” said the workshop leader, “their enthusiasm was contagious and it was wonderful to see them discover the beauty and meaning of the hymns of our Orthodox Faith.”
The workshop, sponsored by the Diocesan Commission on Liturgical Music [CoLM], is the second in a series being held across the diocese to help encourage more children to participate in the liturgical life of the church. Bishop Michael, who also attended the workshop, encouraged the children to continue singing in their home parishes: “Your participation today is vital to the future of our church. Some of you will one day be choir directors, readers, deacons, and priests ... and by singing, all of you will have an important role in the life of our church.”
The day-long interactive workshop presented an overview of music and, in particular, how its role in the life of the church helps us as Orthodox Christians. “Music is a type of language for us. It helps us connect with other people and professes what we believe,” said Mr. Lucs. “We join the angels in praising God when we come together as Orthodox Christians, and we have a responsibility to proclaim the faith in our communities.”
The day also included a scavenger hunt inside the church to find icons corresponding to the hymns that were taught. “The kids were excited about searching for the icons,” said Carol Wetmore (CoLM co-chair) of the Diocesan Liturgical Music Commission, “and once they found them, it was great to hear what they already knew and see them soak up even more in preparation for the feast next month.”
The enthusiasm expressed by the kids was also shared by the parents. "Our daughters really enjoyed the workshop, and we loved watching them learn so eagerly," said Anastasia O'Malley. With many parishes facing decreasing membership and the possibility of smaller choirs in the future, the need for more workshops is apparent. "The Diocesan Commission hopes to sponsor more events across the diocese in the future," said Archpriest Daniel Skvir (CoLM co-chair). "We can also help parishes that want to plan and host their own local events to develop youth choirs and readers."
Visit the CoLM website HERE!