Hear “Celestial Melodies” at the Diocese’s Online Sacred Music Festival: Apr. 16-17

This spring, the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in America will hold a two-day “Sacred Music Festival” running Friday and Saturday, April 16-17, 2021.

Conceived by the Diocese’s Sacred Music Council at the instigation of Diocesan Primate Bishop Daniel, the festival is a celebration of Armenian liturgical music, featuring educational presentations, performances, and a lecture recital. The sessions will be led by exceptional authorities and experts in their respective disciplines.

The Sacred Music council held its first festival in 2019, as a live event in Evanston, IL. A year later, under the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fall 2020 festival was held as an online event—and actually expanded its reach among the public, inspiring additional online workshops and gatherings for musicians in subsequent months.

The upcoming spring 2021 Sacred Music Festival will also go forward as an online gathering—this time with an international flavor—with the theme “The Holy Badarak: Our Musical Sacrament.”

Celestial Melodies

The spring Sacred Music Festival will begin Friday evening, April 16, with a vespers service. Bishop Daniel will welcome participants with a special message, before turning the program over to a special guest presentation.

Internationally-known conductor, musician, and scholar Dn. Haig Utidjian will present a lecture-recital “The Celestial Melodies of the Armenian Divine Liturgy.” In this lecture recital we will explore the development of the melodies of the badarak: from early manuscripts using the cryptic Armenian “khaz” notation, to the 19th-century when Armenian melodies could be heard in Venice, India, the Caucasus, and Constantinople, leading to the rich legacy available today.

Dn. Utidjian will illustrate his talk with musical performances, and delve into his own new research unearthing forgotten traditions and neglected sources of Armenian sacred music.

Musical Sacrament

Saturday will begin with morning service and Bishop Daniel’s keynote presentation on the festival theme: “The Holy Badarak: Our Musical Sacrament.”

The musical pearls of the badarak will be the focus of the afternoon sessions: Fr. Arshen Aivazian and Fr. Avedis Kalayjian will present various melodies and odes (meghetee) and Midday Hymns (jashoo sharagan), respectively. Fr. Voskan Hovhannisyan and Edita Dolunts-Kalayjian will perform examples of each of those variables.

Deacon Rubik Mailian will discuss how to enrich the familiar Divine Liturgy settings with new music, enabling prayers to be vivid and arresting, and to not lose their power through repetition. He will offer examples for solo and choir performance, and will teach two new songs.

The festival is open to all church musicians—both singers and instrumentalists—but all who love Armenian liturgical music are welcome to participate, and will find the festival interesting and uplifting. Participants will have opportunities throughout the sessions for fellowship during virtual coffee breaks and lunch.

Geeragamdeets vespers (“Entering the Lord’s Day”) will conclude the virtual celebration of Armenian Church music and musicians.

Click the following links to:

·       DOWNLOAD a flyer for the spring Sacred Music Festival.
·       DOWNLOAD a flyer for the recital with Dn. Haig Utidjian.
·       DOWNLOAD the full schedule of sessions and instructors.
·       REGISTER in advance for the Sacred Music Festival.

Questions may be directed via e-mail to Sacred Music Council chair Fr. Hovhan Khoja-Eynatyan.

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