Rejoice, O Mountains of Pennsylvania

Rejoice, O Mountains of Pennsylvania


A concert of Orthodox sacred music by American composers  features original works by four different composers, including two world premiere performances.

South Canaan, Pa — The Chamber Choir of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery, a professional vocal ensemble under the auspices of America’s oldest Orthodox monastery, will sing a benefit concert of sacred music by American composers at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre, PA on Sunday, May 29 at 7:30 PM.

Proceeds from the concert, titled “Rejoice, O Mountains of Pennsylvania,” benefit St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary.

The performance, part of a series of events that will take place during the 112th annual St. Tikhon’s Memorial Day Pilgrimage, features a selection of original compositions by American Orthodox composers Benedict Sheehan, Richard Toensing, Nazo Zakkak, and Kurt Sander.

“I’m overjoyed to see a surge of interest in Russian Orthodox choral music over the past twenty years,” Benedict Sheehan, resident music director at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary and Monastery, said. “I’m even more delighted to say that this profound tradition is not simply a relic of the past, but is an artistic tradition that is alive and well today. With this concert, we hope to present the living voice of Orthodox sacred music, as embodied in the works of several American composers.”

The first half of the program will include a world premiere of the striking new Canon of St. Andrew by Nazo Zakkak, a 28-year-old composer from San Diego, as well as works by the late Richard Toensing (1940-2014), recipient of numerous awards and grants including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a commission from the National Endowment for the Arts, and Kurt Sander, an award-winning composer
who teaches at Northern Kentucky University.

The second half of the program features music by Sheehan, including the world premiere of his new composition, Opening Psalm, and a performance of Triduum Paschale, a three-movement work about the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ that met with enthusiastic acclaim when premiered at a benefit concert in New York last November.

Among those giving solo performances during the May 29 concert will be Portland-based baritone John Michael Boyer, known internationally for his work with Cappella Romana, soprano Laura Soto-Bayomi of the Chautauqua Opera Festival and 2015 finalist at the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, and mezzo-soprano Tynan Davis, whose voice is regularly heard in Grammy award-winning ensembles Conspirare and Roomful of Teeth, and who last year joined the cast of the North American Tour of Phantom of the Opera. The choir will also be joined on May 29 by renowned basso profundo Glenn Miller, a veteran of numerous recordings and concert stages, including Robert Shaw’s seminal recording of the Rachmaninoff All-night Vigil (1990) and Conspirare’s recent Grammy award-winning Sacred Spirit of Russia (2014).

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students. See the concert’s website for more information.

Corporate sponsors of the event include Renovation Angel, a national non-profit organization that recycles luxury kitchens and donates proceeds to charity, and the Patriarch Tikhon Russian American Music Institute, which is holding a weekend training seminar for church singers that overlaps with the benefit concert.

Additional corporate sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact Seraphim Danckaert, Director of Mission Advancement, at 570-561-1818, ext. 104 for more information.



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St. Tikhon's Orthodox Seminary

St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary is an institution of professional Orthodox Christian theological education, chartered by the Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and affiliated with the Orthodox Church in America. In a rural environment conducive to spiritual growth and academic study, the Seminary nurtures the theological vocations of its students and faculty, who share the unique opportunity of learning and teaching Orthodox theology in the framework of their daily experience of a rich heritage of Russian Orthodox spiritual and liturgical tradition.