With the blessing of His Grace Archbishop Peter, Holy Protection Cathedral hosted the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Summer School of Liturgical Music (SSLM) over Labor Day weekend. Based at Holy Trinity Seminary (in Jordanville, NY) and headed by Fr. Andre Papkov, the school has so far trained approximately four hundred choir directors, singers and readers for Orthodox parishes across the United States, Europe, South America, Canada, Australia, and even Russia itself.
To celebrate SSLM’s silver anniversary, former and current students, faculty, staff and other well-wishers gathered at Holy Protection Cathedral, for a three-day weekend of intense rehearsals that resulted in beautifully sung services directed by four of the school’s graduates: Kurt Sander (choir director in Cinncinnati), Andrei Burbelo (former choir director in Lakewood, NJ), Gregory Kotar (choir director in Seattle) and Paula Genis (director of the English choir at St. John’s Cathedral in Washington, DC). At the conculsion of the Divine Liturgy, conductor and long-time faculty member Nikolay Myshkin was awarded a Metropolitan's gramota for his 25 years of teaching conducting techniques at the school. Members of the Synodal Liturgical Music Committee Peter Fekula and Vladimir Krassovsky were also present, with Fekula directing a Thankgsiving Moleben at the end of liturgy on Sunday.
Later on that Sunday evening, a concert of 20th century Russian liturgical music was given by the SSLM Festival Choir at Holy Resurrection Serbian Cathedral directed by Nikolay Myshkin. Many of the concert attendees were amazed by the masterful control Myshkin maintained over the dynamics of the choir. The rarely performed works themselves were musically fascinating.
Proceeds from the concert and the banquet that followed it at the Zhivago Restaurant will be directed to a memorial fund named after +Archimandrite Joasaph McLellan, who taught Church Slavonic and Typicon at SSLM from 1992 until his untimely death in 2009.