Byzantine Chant is the traditional music employed by the Orthodox Church. Its roots can be traced back to the ancient Church, most especially in Asia Minor and Greece. It operates quite differently from most forms of Western music. While many forms of Western music, especially those in churches, are polyphonic, Byzantine Chant is monophonic, being made up of a melody and ison. An ison is a drone note that is sung with the melody.
Here at Saint John Orthodox Church, Byzantine Chant music is sometimes sung by our choir. However, we also have Chanters, some who are members of the choir, who have received further training in this ancient form of music, and are thus able to sing, or chant, it to a greater extent. At our parish, our purpose is to present the Byzantine tradition, both musically and structurally, as a compliment to our choir and to help the Priest lead the faithful in the prayers of the services. There are many times when we chant the services instead of the choir, the most often example of which is Wednesday evening services.
St. John Orthodox Church Choir
We welcome new singers! If you are interested in singing with the choir, please speak with the choir directors, Bill Stanek or Nathan Powell. They will explain policies and expectations for members. Children and teens may sing in the choir at the discretion of the director and their parents.
MUSICAL ABILITY – Singers are not required to have formal musical training or read music, but should be able to take a pitch from the director, blend or harmonize with other singers, and follow visual directing.
PRACTICE – Though it is strongly suggested that new members regularly attend weekly practices, practice attendance will depend on musical experience and your ability to sight-read music. Attendance at practice may be mandatory for all singers prior to certain feasts and special services. We generally do not practice during Great Lent and the Nativity Fast, since other services take up extra time during those weeks.
ATTENDANCE AT SERVICES – It is not required for singers to be present at all services; however, we do ask that you be consistent at the services you sing, and arrive on time. If you are unable to attend a service you normally sing, please notify the director, as well as the other members of your section.
CHILDREN – Children of choir members who need to stand with their parent are allowed to do so, but please be courteous of other singers and leave the choir if your child’s behavior is distracting. Other children who are not children of choir members should not stand with the choir, with the exception of godchildren during the Eucharist.