Western American Diocese
Western American Diocese
Youth of Saint George Church in Jordan, Utah, Lead the Faithful in Prayer

The church choir of Saint George Church in Jordan, Utah, has always consisted of women and girls. Over the course of several years the Father Rector, Archpriest Michael van Opstall, has written three-part arrangements and original compositions for women’s and girls’ voices. For the most part Father Michael writes arrangements based on musical anthologies like those found in the “Chanter's Companion” (Sputnik psalomchika), which comprises single-voiced melodies of the Zamenii Chant printed in square notation.

Archpriest Michael van Optall
Archpriest Michael van Optall
Archpriest Michael van Optall

In 2015 during Great Lent it was young girls who sang the trio during the Pre-sanctified Liturgies. Every year on Bright Saturday Father Michael is the only participant in the Divine Liturgy over the age of 20. The youth serve in the altar and sing. Even the choir conductor is from the youth. 

It is not necessary to push the children to serve the Church. Their self-motivation, by God’s mercy, is displayed in abundance and is found throughout parish life: regular attendance of the Divine Services, cleaning of wax from the floor of the church, spontaneous choir rehearsals of a new piece being added to the repertoire. Several times a year the children sell sweets at the end of a parish meal. When asked to what purpose, they reply that they are gathering funds for participation in the summer choir conductors’ program offered annually at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY.

Below is a clip of a performance of a simple arrangement based on Kievan Chant of the church hymn “Now Lettest Thou Thy Servant”, the melody of which was taken from an edition of square-notated music from 1909.

Other arrangements, which are used by the women’s choir of the parish are here.

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