Holy Trinity Seminary Choir Sings in San Francisco
On the weekend of August 3–4, 2012, the Seminary Choir joined with local singers in San Francisco for two back-to-back thematic concerts.
Fourth-year seminarian Nicholas Kotar directed both concerts. Joining him from HTS was alumnus Rev. Deacon Ephraim Willmarth (class of 2011) and seminarians Peter Markevich and John Martin. This worthy missionary effort and presentation of Orthodox music and art was made possible in part by a grant from the Fund For Assistance.
The first concert was a presentation of a hypothetical life of the Good Thief as told in hymns and readings, entitled “Two Paths Diverged at the Wood: A Story of Spiritual Struggle, in Eastern Orthodox Chant.” The Seminary Choir joined the St. John of San Francisco Men’s Chorale to sing the concert in the acoustically marvelous Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in San Francisco. This unique artistic presentation of Orthodox Christian theology and moral teaching was first developed by Nicholas Kotar and the Eastern American Diocese Youth Choir, who performed it in Philadelphia in February of 2012. It was further edited and revised for the San Francisco performance, with the notable addition of two arrangements of ancient chant by Benedict Sheehan, a choir director at St. Tikhon's Seminary. After the performance, refreshments were served and those who wished participated in a hands-on workshop of traditional book-making by Jennifer Rich of Oblation Papers & Press.
The second concert, entitled “The Gift,” was also produced by Kotar along with fellow members of a group of San Fransico-based Orthodox Christian artists and writers under the name of “Conquering Time.” Unlike “Two Paths,” which was a combination of songs and readings, “The Gift” was an original story reminiscent of Russian folk tales. A mixed choir performed the concert in St. Dominic's Church in San Francisco. Both concerts were well-received.
In between concerts, the HTS Seminary Choir was invited to chant the Divine Liturgy for the altar feast of the Old Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco, the former home parish of both Fr. Ephraim and John Martin. The Holy Trinity Seminary Choir would like to thank Archbishop Kyrill, Bishop Feodosii, and Hieromonk James, the rector of the Old Holy Virgin Cathedral, for the honor of chanting and praying in the cathedral in which St. John of Shanghai served when he came to San Francisco.