On March 18, the Edmonton Eparchy hosted a cantor’s workshop at St. Josaphat’s Cathedral. The topic was the Irmosy, the hymns that replace the hymn to the Mother of God “It is truly right” during the Divine Liturgy on major feasts. These hymns are sometimes known in Ukrainian as the zadostoinyky. In English, the more common term is the Greek irmos, which points to the fact that these hymns are borrowed from the office of matins.

About 20 in-person participants attended the workshop, coming from as far as Calgary, along with about 15 online participants from the Edmonton Eparchy and other eparchies in Canada and the USA. The day began with a Divine Liturgy at 9am, followed by breakfast and a presentation by Fr. Peter Babej on the irmos and other changeable parts during the Divine Liturgy. This was followed by several hours of singing workshops. Participants were divided into groups according to experience and language. Each group was guided through a number of irmosy by one or two leaders, who also answered questions about breathing, singing in different pitches, possible harmonization, and repeated patterns in the music. The theological content of these rich hymns was another topic of conversation. At the end of the day, participants had an opportunity to give feedback, which included requests for similar workshops in the future, a request the Eparchy is planning to honour.

Our thanks to Fr. Peter Babej and St. Josaphat’s Cathedral for hosting the event, and to Dr. Melanie Turgeon, Denise Lucyshyn, and Deacon Cyril Kennedy for organizing the workshops and leading the breakout rooms.

Those interested in upcoming workshops for cantors should contact Deacon Cyril at liturgy@eeparchy.com.