The Metropolis of San Francisco Church Music Conference was held August 23 – 26, 2018 at Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in San Diego, California. This weekend event provided an opportunity for fellowship, song and education for nearly 90 church musicians from throughout the Metropolis.

The adult choir was under the direction of Chrysanthy Therianos from Denver, Colorado. During the conference they learned music by Dr. Frank Desby, Dr. Tikey Zes, Dr. Theodore Bogdanos, Rev. Father Michael Pallad, Steve Cardiasmenos and Presvytera Anna Gallos. The Youth Choir offered their inspirational voices in the Divine Liturgy, under the direction of Katherine Loukatos Meck, choir director from Saint Spyridon and Conference Chair. Accompanying the choirs was David Straka, organist from Saint Spyridon. The Byzantine Chant Choir was under the direction of Presvytera Stacey Dorrance, from Denver Colorado, who led a small group of chanters in preparing for the Orthros Service and other hymns during the Divine Liturgy. Chrysanthy, Presvytera Stacey and their other sister, Presvytera Marika Brown, from Boulder, Colorado comprise the trio Eikona. A highlight of the conference was a special concert by these talented women who offered a truly uplifting performance which was attended by the local community in addition to the conference participants.

The conference also provided opportunities for education through workshops including Growing a Multi-Generational Music Program, and the Theology of the Liturgy, Vocal Techniques and Beginning and Advanced Conducting.

Over the past 18 months, the Metropolis Church Music Federation has been examining their infrastructure and identifying ways to engage more people in this important work. The group is currently working towards a more integrated leadership team that would allow more people to be involved, offering their talents and organizational skills to this endeavor.

Though His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos was not able to attend this conference, he offered a special message to the church musicians which encouraged them on their journey towards a more unified ministry structure stating, “This transition is now allowing for more positions that are specialized and responsive to the needs of our faithful. They are bringing in new people – and younger people – who share your passion for the music of the Church. They are eager to use their talents to see the ministry grow. I assure you, there is room for choirs, chanters, congregations and youth to participate in worship in a collaborative and cooperative way. Do not be fearful of these opportunities; rather you need to embrace them and work with them to re-charge your work and expand your vision so that 10, 20 and even 50 years down the road, the Church Musicians in our Metropolises and Archdiocese will have multiplied and be full of melody in praise to God.”

Photo Credit: Joel Ortiz