Another very important aspect of AECMC's mission is the establishment of a summer programme in liturgical music in Europe. This is part of a broader effort by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) to raise the quality of church singing across the Russian Diaspora. The programme will be designed for regular training and education of existing and future singers, choir conductors and readers across European parishes, with academic advising and support from the existing Synodal School of Liturgical Music (Jordanville, USA).
PREPARATORY COURSE OF THE LITURGICAL SCHOOL
From August 9 to 13, 2021 we conducted a "Preparatory Course" as part of the creation of a liturgical music school in Europe.
The name "Preparatory Course" did not come up by chance. In the context of the pandemic, the council members decided to hold the event online, as well as the previously held “Second All-European Orthodox Liturgical Music Conference”. Due to this format, the proposed curriculum had to be slightly modified and shortened.
Three subjects were offered for study:
1. History of Church Music.
3. Liturgical Performance Practice (theoretical and practical aspects).
The program included:
15 hours of lecture material.
5 hours of practical training.
3 round tables with general discussion and Q&A.
Participants included singers and choir directors from 8 countries, including the USA. As during the conference in January 2021, the participants had the opportunity to listen to lectures, participate in practical exercises and round tables in one of three languages: Russian, English and French.
High professionalism was shown by the teachers who delivered lectures and classes.
Lectures on the History of Church Music were delivered by Dr. S.G. Zvereva, on the "Typicon" – by Dr. A.A. Andreev, “Liturgical Performance Practice” (theoretical part) was conducted by A.V. Shipovalnikov. The practical part of the "Liturgical practice" was offered by teachers in three languages concurrently in order to avoid problems with translation and because of the musical peculiarities in each language: V.V. Kashlyaev (Russian), M.K. Malinin (French) and matushka Sarah Skinner (English).
As noted by the Committee members and all teachers, the practical aspect turned out to be the most difficult when teaching online. But this is natural - nothing can replace "live" communication.
It is especially important to note the participation in almost all lectures and classes of Archpriest Andrei Papkov, chairman of the ROCOR Synodal Music Commission, whose presence inspired all the participants. His very presence, as a priest and a person with vast experience in Orthodox singing and conducting, was very joyful for all the participants.
Arseny Kruglov provided organisational and technical support in the preparation of the course and during the entire event. The Committee expresses its deep gratitude to all translators.
In the opinion of the teaching staff, despite all the difficulties, the course can be considered successful. The experience showed that there is interest in church singing, and the organisation of a summer liturgical music school in Europe in the future (we hope that it will be live/in-person) has good chances of success.