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The 31st Annual ‘Spirit of Lent’ choral Concert Held at St. George in Piscataway, NJ

PISCATAWAY, NJ – The Eastern Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians (EFGOCM) presented their 31st annual ‘Spirit of Lent’ choral concert on April 26 at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Piscataway, NJ.

This 50-voice choir is comprised of members from New Jersey’s many Greek Orthodox

churches and is supported by the Metropolis of New Jersey. The uplifting concert was followed by a reception with Lenten refreshments.

Under the artistic direction of Ryan J. Kiel, the 50-member choir presented a program of 23 ancient and modern compositions for the season of Lent.

They sang in English and Greek, hymns such as ‘Ina ti Efriaxan,’ ’Soson Kyrie ton Laon Sou’ (‘O Lord Save Thy People’), ’Ton Nymfona Sou Vlepo’, ‘Troparion tis Kassianis’ (‘Hymn of Kassiani’), and ‘Ti Ypermaho,’ among others, eliciting warm applause from the audience.

The Eastern Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians presents its 31st annual ‘Spirit of Lent’ choral concert on April 26. Photo: Courtesy of the Eastern Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians

Presiding priest Fr. Nektarios Cottros spoke with The National Herald and welcomed the members of the choir and all the guests to the Church of St. George.

He said that “this annual event always brings us to the close of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week. The faithful eagerly await it and reverently watch the program. We wish everyone a happy Easter, with health, peace around the world, and with joy in the celebration of the Resurrection.”

Conductor Ryan J. Kiel also spoke to TNH, noting the history of the choir and their efforts.

The Eastern Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians presents its 31st annual ‘Spirit of Lent’ choral concert on April 26. Photo: Courtesy of the Eastern Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians

“Like every year, a few days before Holy Week, we present a program of religious hymns,” he said. “The choir consists of members from several New Jersey Greek Orthodox churches and is supported by the Metropolis. Church musicians – choir members, chanters, and church music teachers from New Jersey parishes are among the members.

EFGOCM teaches church music, awards scholarships, conducts vocal technique workshops, encourages youth participation, enhances communication between church musicians and Church leadership, and improves the spiritual and musical knowledge of our church musicians.

Two major concerts are presented in New Jersey each year, the ‘Spirit of Lent’ and the annual Christmas concert in December.

“In September, the choir sings during the Holy Cross celebration in Asbury Park,” Kiel said.

The concert was followed by a reception in the community hall with Lenten foods.

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