The Choir of Saints Constantine and Helen of Washington DC
The choir of Saints Constantine and Helen was founded in the early 1930’s. The first choir director was Lazarus Demetriades, a cellist of the National Symphony Orchestra and previously member of the King Farouk’s orchestra in Cairo, Egypt. The Choir was probably one of the first mixed, acapella choirs. As of today, the choir remains an acapella choir. Presently, all churches have organs that accompany the choir, unless it is a truly Byzantine choir.
Over the years the choir had several directors, such as Basil Papadakis, Helen Lambros, George Manos, James Maginopolos, Nicholas Pallas (a young seminarian, now a priest in the Kimisis Tis Theotokou Church in Aliquippa, PA), Dr. John Kosmos, Erma Staful, Dr. Theodore Papaloizos.
The choir was fortunate to have talented and dedicated choir directors since its foundation at our church. Each choir director brought his gifts and talents and shared them with the choir.
The liturgical music we chant is due to four composers, John Sakellarides, Nicholas Roubanis, Christos Vrionides, and George Anastasiou. Many choir directors will create their own arrangements, but the basic melody remains the same.
The Liturgical music is important to the church as it provides an atmosphere of reverence, to supply a dialogue between the clergy and the people through the choir. At one time, the whole church gave the responses, but over time many mistakes were being introduced. The Church Fathers then introduced an order of musicians who were trained and were able to chant the proper hymns.
The choir at Saints Constantine and Helen has kept the tradition of the liturgical music and it is true to the ethos and practice of our Holy Church. Why not be part of this beautiful and inspirational ministry? If you are interested, please leave your name and telephone number at the Church and you will be contacted by the choir director.