Saint Mary’s Protopsaltis (lead chanter) is Reader Moses Fillmore, who learned to chant while yet a catechumen at St. Mary between 2002 and 2003. Other chanters include Reader Phillip Manley, Holly Anna Walsh, Rebekah Clausing, Reader John Troy, Brian Iakovos Linnell, Mark David and Reader George (Wayne) David.
Chanting is a vital ministry in the parish because chanters are needed for every service, including feast days and the many prayerful services that make up the Lenten calendar. The practice in Orthodox worship is for the chanters to fill the services with psalms, hymns and other responses to prayers of the priest.
Additionally at St. Mary parish, the first Sunday of every month is led by Protopsaltis Reader Moses and our Byzantine Men’s Choir in a service entirely composed of Byzantine chant (as opposed to the pan-orthodox musical selections of our Choir on other Sundays).
THE 8 TONES
The eight tone system, also known as octoechos, is a Christian tradition that has both classical and Jewish roots, and was fully developed in the Christian east. Each tone or mode has distinct notes and a recognizable melody. Byzantine chant builds on variations of these melodies.
Here is Psalm 140/141 chanted during a Vespers service at Saint Mary:
For examples of the eight tones, we thank Fr. Aaron Warwick and St. Mary Wichita for compiling a musical library on their church website.