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Great Documentary: Russian Americans Unite Musical Excellence with Orthodox Worship (PaTRAM)

The Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Music Institute (PaTRAM) was founded to revolutionize Orthodox musical training abroad

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Representatives of two major American Orthodox Churches, the Orthodox Church of America (OCA) and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) are working together to lay the groundwork for a re-blossoming of Orthodox musical talent and training abroad.

Together, they founded the Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Music Institute (PaTRAM) to not only help educate aspiring Orthodox musical talent, but to revolutionize how Divine Music is taught.

Here is a phenomenal documentary about their journey to make Russian style church music sound in churches in all its complicated, harmonious glory:

One of the major issues many Orthodox Churches face is the lack of musical training of their choir members. Local Orthodox Churches in America especially have incredible difficulty finding highly trained vocalists for their choirs.

Russian Church music is so beautiful in its ideal form that it is particularly painful when people lack the skill to perform it in the fullness of its beauty.

Orthodox hymnography is ancient, and its musical theory extremely complicated; the Orthodox don’t sing from common hymnals but practice an ancient lineage of divine music.

Orthodox Divine music has its origins in the Ancient Greek world and many of the hymns were written in the first and second century. Additionally, the Divine Liturgy is often set to complex choral masterpieces written by the likes of Tchaikovsky.

In all honesty, while all reverent voices are equally pleasing to God, the reality is that a formal musical education in Divine Music is required in order to properly achieve the fullness of our hymnology. While the intent of the person singing is almost always sincere and therefore blessed, it is only when the music is sung well that it becomes a sermon in itself, naturally raising the listeners above the cares of the world.

Such an education is almost impossible to find outside of Europe or the few major seminaries in the New World.

The Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Music Institute (PaTRAM) was founded to address this issue.

Utilizing the full potential of the internet, their instructors who were trained at major seminaries in Europe or America, offer education programs at every level of Church musical development in both the English and Church Slavonic languages. Students are given the opportunity to connect with these professionals personally online, through Skype, and are a few workshops, led by talented, well-known musicians from all over the world, are organized during the year in various places in the country.

With God’s help, PaTRAM is revolutionizing the way Orthodox conductors and singers receive their training in North America and preparing a new generation of voices that is pleasing to God both spiritually and practically.

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