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The Music of the Church
Singing a capella is characteristic of Orthodox Christian hymnography. This tradition is rooted in the Orthodox Church's understanding of man. Genesis 1:26-31 and 2:19-20 present man both as created from the dust of the earth and as after the image and likeness of God. To man also has been entrusted the stewardship of the earth. Therefore patristic tradition sees in man a microcosm of the universe, encompassing both the spiritual and material aspects of creation.
When man worships God, his worship is two-fold, both spiritual and physical. In this act, man joins the angels and all spiritual creation in the never-ending liturgy of eternal worship since he too is a spiritual being. As partaker and steward of physical creation, man worships on behalf of the physical universe, joining the cosmos in the proclamation of the glory of God (Psalm 19:1-4). What then is a better instrument for God's worship than the voice of the one who represents all creation? For this reason the Orthodox Church worships God using the human voice as its sole musical instrument.
Orthodox Christian hymnography possesses many rich national traditions: Byzantine-Greek, Byzantine-Arab, Russian, Romanian, Georgian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Carpatho-Russian, and so forth. The choir of St. Philip's Antiochian Orthodox Church stands predominantly in the Byzantine-Arab musical tradition, although we often sing hymns using musical settings of other traditions, as well as some contemporary ones. Our language of worship is English.
St. Philip’s Church Choir consists of singers who dedicate a great deal of time and effort to beautifying the services of the church. They take seriously the words of the psalmist who said, “I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live.” Bishop BASIL has said, “Church singing is not a hobby. It is not something one does for personal fulfillment. It is first and foremost a duty, a duty of those to whom God has given musical talents. Angels were created to serve and to praise, and you have been given voices for that same purpose.”
The adult choir rehearses from early September through mid-June. Check the church calendar for specific scheduling. Click here for Winter-Spring 2015 Choir News & rehearsal schedule.
Click here to access recordings of our choir.
The Ministry of Church Singers, by Bp BASIL
Sing to the Lord: Exploring the Many Facets of Orthodox Liturgical Singing (Ancient Faith podcast - multiple lectures available)
St. Philip's Youth Choir is made up of youth in grades 2 through 8, and rehearses for approximately six weeks prior to Christmas and Pascha, with the same hard work and dedication as the adult choir. The youth choir takes the place of the adult choir in singing for St. Nicholas Vespers and the Christmas Program in December, as well as one Presanctified Liturgy during Lent and Royal Hours on Holy Friday.
The objectives the Youth Choir are:
Check our calendar for Youth Choir Rehearsal dates.
Let the Children Come Unto Me
Children’s Homilies on the Icons of St. Philip’s - Our holy icons can become mere old-fashioned decorations to our children unless the stories of the Bible, Church history, and the Saints become our family stories. Only then can children grow deeper in their love of God and more mature in their lives in the Church. Fr. Noah Bushelli attempts to do just this in these live recordings of homilies to children of his parish about cooperating with God's love in the company of His saints.