“This compilation is an absolute delight. The singers blend beautifully and sing artfully. One can tell that they have not only sung together for some time, but have worshiped through music together as this comes through in the music.”
—Monk Martin (Gardner)
In the summer of 1962, eight students from a seminary in Crestwood, New York, traveled around the US singing the sacred music of the Orthodox faith. Led by a young seminarian named David Drillock, the St. Vladimir’s Seminary Octet visited nearly 100 churches. Over the years, the members of the ensemble changed, but its legacy has been lasting. Through countless trips, concerts, services, and recordings, the Octet forever transformed the landscape of Orthodox music in America—setting the standard for church singing in English.
In the intervening years, St. Vladimir’s produced recordings of both men’s and combined men’s and women’s voices. However, the seminary has never released a recording of all-women’s voices. Women have always been pillars of the faculty, staff, and student body of St. Vladimir’s, and women students and seminarians’ wives often go on to become leaders in church music. So in many ways, an all-women’s recording has been a long time coming. We hope Every Day Will I Bless Thee continues the venerable musical legacy of the Octet, while at the same time breaking new ground for the seminary and the Church.
The music on this recording reflects the pan-Orthodox spirit of the seminary. Our seminarians hail from all corners of the globe, speak different languages, and belong to different Orthodox churches and jurisdictions. But on this recording, as in our chapel, we sing “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Eph 5:19) as one body. You’ll hear music from the Serbian tradition (The Lord Awoke), the Greek tradition (Hymn of Kassiane), and even a piece from Georgia (Paschal Troparion). We honor the Russian musical tradition with familiar settings of O Taste and See and the Exapostilarion of the Cross, while at the same time presenting more recent compositions written in English, such as the works of Father Ivan Moody, Kurt Sander, Vladimir Morosan, Monk Martin (Gardner), nazo nakkak, Richard Toensing, and Nicolas Craig Custer.
May this first recording from the St. Vladimir’s Seminary Women’s Sextet glorify God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and may it bless your soul also.
Director: Robin Freeman
Sextet Members: Stephanie Earl • Mary Honoré • Robin Freeman • Nun Margarete (Roeber) • Ilaria O'Keefe • Danielle Miller
1. O Gladsome Light (1:16)
2. Exapostilarion for Annunciation (0:43)
3. Koinonikon for All Times (0:56)
4. The Great Doxology (4:14)
5. Canon Ode 9 for Holy Saturday Matins (2:22)
6. Exapostilarion for Pascha (1:26)
7. Blessed is the Man (2:59)
8. The Angel Cried (1:43)
9. Antiphon 15 for Holy Friday Matins (3:29)
10. Let My Prayer Arise (2:56)
11. Song of St. Simeon (0:54)
12. Exapostilarion for the Exaltation of the Cross (1:41)
13. Hymn of Kassiane (5:17)
14. Magnificat (4:17)
15. Paschal Troparion - Kriste aghsda (1:03)
16. Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos (1:51)
17. Koinonikon for Holy Saturday (2:45)
18. It Is Truly Meet (1:04)
19. Koinonikon for Presanctified Liturgy (1:52)
20. Kontakion for the Nativity of Christ (2:21)
21. Kontakion for the Canon of St. Andrew (1:41)
22. The Lord's Prayer (1:15)
23. Paschal Troparion (1:09)
This recording is a gift to the faithful. I find great solace in the prayers and praises sung by these women. Eager for other projects by this sextet. Blessings and thanks!