Plans for 2016

During the coming year, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute will be focusing on three things:

  • Developing new cantors, and encouraging inactive cantors to become active in their parishes
  • Providing opportunities to allow every cantor to become better at leading our church singing, and singing it well
  • Encouraging the lay faithful to “sing with understanding” by providing introductions to the basics of singing, liturgy, and chant

Here’s what we plan to do.

Online Courses

Starting in January, we will make three online courses available for free to anyone in the Byzantine Catholic Church: Becoming a Cantor, Becoming a Reader, and Plainchant of the Byzantine Catholic Church (a history course). Individuals who desire to take additional courses for cantors and readers will be able to enroll in the full MCI program for $85 per year; this will include access to the complete cantor education program, including cantor certification.

The program will be aimed at allowing new cantors to become certified in three years of self-paced online classes, along with either in-person training in Pittsburgh, or local mentoring arrangements with an experienced cantor or priest. Current cantors can use the program to expand and deepen their knowledge of our services and chant.


On Sunday, January 10, we will be starting a weekly podcast entitled Chant Notes, discussing the liturgical services of the coming week and their music. We would also like to feature recordings by our cantors and choirs as part of this podcast, so please contact me at if interested in contributing!

Public presentations

On Thursday, February 11, from 7-9 PM, the MCI will give a presentation on Music of the Great Fast at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Munhall, covering both Lenten services and traditional Lenten hymns.

On Thursday, March 3, from 7-9 PM, there will be a presentation at the cathedral on Music of Holy Week and Annunciation – particularly timely for 2016, when the feast of the Annunciation will fall on Great and Holy Friday.

Both presentations are free and open to the public. Materials will be provided, and both sessions will be streamed live on the Internet.

Other opportunities for cantors

We are planning a cantor’s picnic for June, and possibly a general meeting of our cantors later this summer. Over the past few years, there have been fewer opportunities for cantors to get together, and I would like to reverse this trend.

I am also hoping to meet with the cantors in each deanery to discuss our cantor education program, and begin cooperative work with the Eparchies of Passaic, Parma, and Phoenix.


In addition to a Daily Matins book, we hope to assemble prayer materials for cantors, a liturgical Psalter, and books for the Hours (normal, Lenten, and Paschal). My eventual goal is an English edition of the Sbornik, with liturgical texts for the entire calendar year in one volume, suitable for use both an home and in church. Potential projects include an online lectionary, with Scripture readings for each day, and smartphone apps for the daily readings and typikon.

Meantime, the Liturgical Commission and Council of Hierarchs continue to work on materials for the holy mysteries and the funeral services, and the MCI will provide classes on these when they become available.

Questions? Comments?  Please post them here!

Welcome to the new MCI website!

Since 1999, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute has provided in-person cantor instruction in Pittsburgh (and at a few other locations), and distributed information and sheet music through its website,

Throughout 2015, we experimented with online cantor education, and took a hard look at our Church’s needs for music education. We prepared a set of standards for cantor certification, moved from five courses a year to twelve, and began posting audio and video from MCI sessions.

At the start of 2016, we will be announcing a comprehensive online program for cantor and reader education, using mentoring and regular feedback to help new cantors learn to lead our chant well, and allow current cantors to stay up to date and master their craft.

This new website will allow for much more feedback:

  • the ability to post comments and make suggestions for any page on the website
  • a regular weblog and (eventually) podcast
  • integration with our online courses, so that anyone can read the course material, then go directly to Moodle to take quizzes that count toward cantor certification

Over the next few weeks, we will be copying content from the old website to the new one at, doing some cleanup, and preparing new online courses for release.  (The old website remains available at

So – here’s YOUR chance to make suggestions. What would you like to have on the MCI website?