Sunday, January 6, 2013

Chanters--God's Directors of Communications

I've been watching episodes of The West Wing on Netflix.  Despite my overall opposition to the political message of this show, it is very well written and the characters, most of them, are very likable and don't sound artificial.  The episode that I watched today which had a scene involving Toby Ziegler, the White House Director of Communications who goes to synagogue to talk with his rabbi about the sermon he was giving on the Sabbath.

As he takes his seat behind the rabbi, he hears a woman practicing her chants for an upcoming funeral.  Toby looks at her with wonder and remarks that he never thought the chanters ever practiced.  The rabbi says that the chanters practice every single day and that they have to.

Skipping forward in the scene, as Toby is getting frustrated by what his rabbi tells him, he prepares to leave but not before he gets in a few parting jabs, accusing the rabbi of having deliberately planted the chanter and her beautiful song so that he would be more amiable to what the rabbi had to tell him.  The rabbi smiles and says that the chanters are God's Directors of Communications.

As a chanter myself, I really liked this scene mainly because I've never thought of myself as God's Director of Communications. It's certainly an apt description.  I have to admit that I don't practice as much as I once did. Having a baby and starting a new job really cut down on any leisure time to do that.  But being a chanter is really hard work and I know that most chanters probably do not get the thanks due them week in, week out for all the work they do (and they do a lot; especially during Great Lent).  My point:  if you're an Orthodox Christian who worships according to the Byzantine Rite, make sure you thank your chanters...a lot.

1 comment:

  1. Love the photo -- I am hopeful our parish will get one of those revolving chanter stands like this one eventually. Most of us who chant in the parish are in favor of it, so it's just a matter of putting a plan together and getting it built.

    Thanks also for this kind message. It is a lot of work, and a lot of responsibility as well. It is quite a humbling vocation. Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.