Monday, October 31, 2011

“That’s going in the blog.”

Things have been getting pretty quiet here at my blog. Second year actually feels more busy than first year for some strange reason, even though we technically have less hours of class (and don’t have to wash dishes, for that matter). Even so, for whatever reason I haven’t had the time to post, until now. Our Church Slavonic/Music teacher rescheduled classes this week, which means that I am free all morning. Huzzah! And it’s Fr. Luke’s namesday, which means ice cream! Huzzah! Here’s what I did over the past couple of weeks:

  • Participated in the Eastern American Diocese clergy conference
  • Attended a youth choir weekend in New York City
  • Sold stuff to a busload of pilgrims from DC
  • Watch a few episodes of Downton Abbey and Doctor Who for Movie Night(s)
  • Go to church a lot
  • Oh yeah, study.
With that brief update out of the way, let’s put a little meat on the skeleton and talk about the youth choir weekend. The last one of those I attended was in June, right after the Boston Ball. This time we were singing at the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils Russian Orthodox Church in Upper Manhattan (think Harlem). Four of us set out for New York City: my friends Harry and Ben from Buffalo, fellow seminarian Nicky Kotar, and myself. We spent the time going there talking about sundry subjects such as yak-dragons* and Don Quixote. The seminarians tried to get some productive work done in between bursts of conversational creativity.

After arriving in Manhattan we headed straight to the church, where rehearsal was just about to begin. Rehearsal went on for quite some time because we were basically going over all the music for both Vigil and Liturgy, and moreover were gathered together for the first time in months. Alex Cooley (that guy people made a Facebook page about) conducted. I met quite a few new people and reunited with old friends. After rehearsal we had some delicious lasagna and readied ourselves for the Vigil.

Vigil ended later than expected; we were all too tired to do any wandering around the city, so we just went to our respective places-to-sleep. Harry, Ben and I went to the Djurdjinovic** household, where our hosts fed us with some delicious pelmeni. It was a lively evening; up to three conversations were going on at the same time on the long table. We talked into the night and finally went to bed. The girls went upstairs, leaving the guys to sleep in the basement, which was actually pretty comfortable.

The next day we had Liturgy. On the way there we complained about the toll ($12!!!) to get over the GWB. I also had a cold that weekend, so my singing ability was quite compromised. I kept sniffling and coughing all through the Liturgy (“Lord have mer—cough!—cy”). We did all right in the end, especially since it was the first time in many years that an actual choir was singing liturgy. The moleben at the end of liturgy was a mouthful though, with the refrain “Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, pray to God for us” in Slavonic.

The parishioners fed us pretty generously. I enjoyed the meat and caught up with some people I met the previous weekend at the Youth Symposium. A few made toasts, including one of the sub-deacons (pére Djurdjinovic):

“You might have heard about an old band in the 80s called Kool & the Gang…now it’s Cooley & the Gang!”

“That’s going in the blog,” I said to Nicky.

Right after lunch, we had a group photo and parted ways. Good times were had in NYC, and I only regret that we had so little time to enjoy the city. Well, maybe next time!

*That creature that appears in the Neverending Story. Correctly referred to (according to an ardent Reader) as a luckdragon. We discussed the merits of keeping them as fire-breathing guardians of an estate, as well as for milking purposes (“It’d taste like burning…and milk,” said Ben).
**It’s pronounced as read.

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