East Meets West at “Magnificat” Concert
25 November 2013 • Off–Campus • Virginia Nieuwsma
The outstanding acoustics and resplendent interior of St. Jean Baptiste Church in New York City provided a fitting venue for the soaring melodies offered at "Magnificat: Hymns to the Mother of God from the East and West," a concert of sacred music presented by the Male Choir from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, directed by Hierodeacon Herman (Majkrzak), and the Schola from St. Joseph's Seminary (Dunwoodie) of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, led by Director of Music Dr. Jennifer Pascual. The two theological schools, representing their respective church traditions, received two standing ovations from more than four hundred concert–goers at the conclusion of their performance.
"Tonight, we are carried through a liturgical year as we hear hymns to the Mother of God from East and West," said St. Vladimir's Chancellor/CEO The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield in his homily. "With perfect harmony we experience the magnificent song of praise from Luke's Gospel that is 'Magnificat'!"
Music selections from the Orthodox tradition illustrated the Church's feasts dedicated to the Theotokos (Mother of God) and included a stunning original arrangement for the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, composed by Hierodeacon Herman, with featured soloist Gregory Abdalah ('08 alumnus). St. Joseph's Schola presented time-honored hymns to the Virgin Mary taken from ancient Latin chant and from the classical period up until modern times, such as, O Sanctissima, by Beethoven (1770–1827). The choirs joined in a few pieces to conclude the concert, ending with the sublime Ave Maria, by Biebl, with St. Vladimir's seminarians Gregory Tucker, Brad Vien, and Ian Abodeely singing triadic portions of the piece.
Noted Fr. Chad, "This sort of joint venture has never been done between an Orthodox and Roman Catholic Seminary before, and it heralds the renewal of our mutually beneficial relationship with St. Joseph's."
Rector of St. Joseph's Seminary The Rev. Msgr. Peter Vaccari remarked, "This evening reflects our vibrant, living traditions and represents the most recent phase of what has been a growing tradition of collaboration and communication in prayer, the promotion of a culture of scholarship, and our mutual recognition of the place of beauty in artistic expression."
Other distinguished guests offered greetings at the concert's conclusion: St. Jean Baptiste Church's Rector, The Rev. John A. Kamas, S.S.S; His Eminence Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, metropolitan of the Northeast American Diocese, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and St. Vladimir's episcopal Board of Trustee member; and Bishop Gerald Walsh, vicar general of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. Trustees, faculty, and staff from both institutions enjoyed a VIP reception prior to the concert.
Note: a CD of the concert may be offered in the future, and will be advertised accordingly.
View the Program
PDF of Fr. Chad's homily
Read about the Fall 2012 visit of St. Joseph's visit to St. Vladimir's, and the reciprocal dinner hosted for SVOTS faculty at St. Joseph's