Greetings, my lovely parish! I spend most of my time with my back turned toward you as I direct the choir during services. Many, many things happen in the kliros…what’s that, you say? Kliros?? The kliros is the area where the singers and readers stand. The word apparently comes from the Greek κλῆρος, meaning “lot”, as the singers of ancient times were chosen by lot.
As I was saying…many, many things happen in the kliros. I thought perhaps from time to time you might like to know what we do and why we do it. And why we sometimes cannot sing due to our often failed attempts to laugh silently.
Recently, at the end of July, I took three teenagers to Carlsbad, CA to attend a music masterclass with me. Some say I was brave; I say I was blessed.
Rafael attended as a conducting student. You might have noticed he stood at the podium Sunday to conduct “Receive the Body of Christ.” Every choral masterclass needs singers, so Peter and Isabel came to satisfy that role. These three teens brought freshness and joy to our weekend, worked very hard to attend to the teacher, and sang beautifully. They made our parish proud!
The teacher, Maestro Vladimir Gorbik, comes regularly from Moscow, Russia to bring the Russian practical tradition of Orthodox music to our country. He helped the conductors understand how to communicate more clearly with singers and understand the music. He always reminded us to pray, to
worship, and that we do all of this work for the sake of the glory of God.
On Saturday evening we sang vigil at the nearby ROCOR parish of St John of Kronstadt (this was after a full day of singing and instruction). Established by immigrants about 50 years ago, this little community gave us a hearty welcome. We sang right next to cases of relics from unidentified monks martyred in the 7thcentury near Jericho! The next morning we sang liturgy at Fr Andrew Cuneo’s parish of St Katherine’s, a sister OCA mission in Carlsbad. More instruction followed. After a somewhat quick and very wet visit to the Pacific Ocean, we drove until we reached home around 1:30 am.
We have a wonderful opportunity to sponsor a masterclass right here at our parish with Maestro Gorbik. Imagine…we could host a weekend and invite the other choirs around the valley to join us…and OUR choir could benefit from this exceptional musician spending time helping us sing better and conduct more clearly. I will keep you updated…hopefully he can come sometime next year.
That’s all the notes from the Kliros for today! Blessings…
Kristin Maria ♪