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!

4 thoughts on “Plans for 2016”

  1. Where and when are the next MCI workshops for 2016? I think we need more interaction with teachers and learning cantors.I’m having a hard time processing everything. Their is so much to learn it’s unbelievable!

  2. There certainly is a lot to learn, but much of it has a logical sequence. That is why we want to use the online courses to structure the material so that it can be learned – and reviewed and tested – at each student’s pace.

    If we taught sessions at the seminary this spring, it would essentially repeat courses that have already been taught, with many of the same students. Moving THAT material (the lecture component) to an online format should actually make it easier to teach, so this Spring we are focusing resources where I think it will do the most good. Interaction with teachers and experienced cantors is needed, and we will be providing that through some new channels.

    And do come to the evening sessions in February and March if you can!

  3. Although I am of the latin rite I feel I have learned a great deal in the past couple of years. I realize I still have a lot to learn. As far being certified I try to leave that in God’s Hands. I would very much like to continue in the program, please keep me a part of it.

    Fred Walter

  4. As long as there is careful coordination with and an opportunity for the members of the Inter-Eparchial Commission for Sacred Liturgy and the Inter-Eparchial Commission for Sacred Music to review any materials that may be prepared by the Metropolitan Cantor Institute before they are made available, it sounds like a noble effort to prepare materials for to assemble prayer materials for cantors, a liturgical Psalter, books for the Hours (normal, Lenten, and Paschal), and an English edition of the Sbornik. It is important that a parallel process not be created that would circumvent the official process for the Metropolitan Church with regard to publications.

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