The Spirit of Lent

17th Annual Choral Offering of Ancient and Modern Liturgical Works
in English and Greek

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Friday, March 30, 2007, at 8 pm, the New Jersey & Staten Island District Choir of the Eastern Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians (EFGOCM), present it’s 17th annual Spirit of Lent concert, an annual Lenten choral offering of sacred Greek Orthodox liturgical Lenten hymns. The choir will be accompanied by young singers from the Greek Orthodox communities of Trenton and Westfield. The concert will take place at Kirkpatrick Chapel on the corner of George & Somerset Streets, Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Admission is $10, and is free for children and students with valid ID.

The concert features ancient and modern arrangements of Byzantine hymns traditionally sung in Greek Orthodox churches during the six-week Lenten season, from the Sunday of Orthodoxy through Pascha (Easter), and is a unique opportunity for people unfamiliar with Byzantine church music to experience it for the first time.

Musical selections include "Ina Ti Efriaxan, Idou O Nimfonos Erhete," and "Troparion Kassiani," all sung during Holy Week; "Potirion" the Communion hymn, "Tin Ahranton Ikona Sou," sung the First Sunday of Lent, "Anixa To Stoma Mou," Salutations for the Virgin Mary, sung Friday's during Lent, and "Ayios O Theos," the Liturgy of Peace sung throughout the year. Though religious in nature, these exquisite hymns can strike a chord with any lover of beautiful music.

Kirkpatrick Chapel at Rutgers University.
Photo by Jon Oliver

The Spirit of Lent choral offering is under the direction of Kathryn Athanasoulas, who has served as Choir Director of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Westfield, NJ for over 20 years. She has taught vocal music in public schools in Ridgewood and Elizabeth, NJ, as well as Pennsylvania, and was an instructor at the American Community Schools of Athens, Greece for 15 years. Organ music will be provided by E. Hope Demitry of St. George Greek Orthodox Church, Trenton, NJ. Ms. Demitry has played the organ for this church for 40 years; she has also been a music teacher in the Trenton school district for over 35 years.

The New Jersey & Staten Island District is made up of the following area Greek Orthodox churches: St. George, Piscatway; St. Demetrius, Perth Amboy; St. George, Clifton; St. Nicholas, Newark; St. George, Asbury Park; Kimisis Tis Theotokos, Holmdel; St. George, Trenton; Holy Trinity, Westfield; and St. Nicholas/Holy Trinity, Staten Island, NY. This District holds two large-scale concerts annually, The Spirit of Lent, and a Christmas concert. This group also provides choral accompaniment during the Greek Orthodox Holy Cross Celebration held every September in Asbury Park, NJ.

The Eastern Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians (EFGOCM) is comprised of the 57 parish choirs from the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey which includes the states of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, as well as Greater Philadelphia. Established in 1977, the EFGOCM provides assistance to local church musicians by offering educational lectures, workshops, concerts, and conferences for an increased understanding and appreciation of Greek Orthodox Church music and Greek folk songs. Singers, directors, chanters, organists, and clergy all benefit from the work of the EFGOCM.

For more information about the Spirit of Lent concert, and to reserve tickets, the public should contact, Marie Devino 732-264-0718; The Press may contact Kathryn Athanasoulas 908.232.7695;

(Posting date 17 March 2007

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