The current state of things with the Saint John of Damascus Society’s Psalm 103 project

By Richard Barrett on September 30, 2013

Back in April, I posted about the Saint John of Damascus Society‘s Kickstarter campaign for the first phase of the Psalm 103 project. I’m happy to say that it was more than successful, and we’re just about to deliver on one of the first parts this phase.

Before I get to that, let me tell you (briefly) what we’ve been up to since the Kickstarter campaign. Part of the idea with the first phase was to bring all of the composers out to Bloomington for a working weekend and a public presentation about the project, and this presentation got selected to be part of the Indiana University College of Arts & Sciences Themester 2013 program. Between that and a Humanities Initiative Grant from Indiana Humanities, the state agency that manages National Endowment for the Humanities funds, we got some pretty substantial support and recognition as a humanities effort, and then the IU Institute for European Studies, the Russian and East European Institute, and the Modern Greek program also pitched in.


We got the contracts signed at the beginning of the summer, and then it was just a matter of logistics planning for getting all six of them out here in the fall. We’re now two weeks out from their working weekend and public presentation. Here are the details:

    • Who: The Saint John of Damascus Society
    • What: “Networks of Echoes: Collaboration, Community, and Creativity in the Musics of Eastern Orthodox Churches”. Matthew Arndt, John Michael Boyer, Alexander Khalil, Kurt Sander, and Tikey Zes will each speak informally (about 10-15 minutes) about their contribution to the project, how they see the collaborative effort working as a whole, how they see the different musical traditions interacting with each other, etc. Former Assistant Conductor for the Yale Russian Chorus Christopher Grundy will conduct a twelve-piece choir in representative examples of the various repertories selected by the composers. Following this, there will be a roundtable Q&A with all participants.
    • Where: First Christian Church, 205 E. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington, Indiana.
    • When: 7pm, Saturday 12 October.
    • Why: To support, and help increase public awareness of, the Psalm 103 project specifically and Orthodox music more generally.
    • How: Via a successful Kickstarter campaign back in the spring, collaboration with the IU College of Arts & Sciences Themester 2013 program, support from other academic units. Additionally, this program has been made possible through a matching grant from Indiana Humanities in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Finally, we’ve gotten some generous coverage from Orthodox media outlets; Fr. Chris Metropoulos at Orthodox Christian Network ran a piece on us back over the summer, and then a fairly lengthy interview about the project was just posted over at Ancient Faith Radio.

You can keep up-to-date on these developments by liking our Facebook page and/or by reading our blog on the Society’s website. You can also contact me directly at richardbarrett [AT]

If you’re anywhere near Bloomington the second weekend of October, please come and see what we’re doing!

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  1. Mark Pearson on September 30, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Very exciting. You must video record this and upload to Youtube. It’s too important not to!

    • Richard Barrett on September 30, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      Yes, that’s the plan. Audio, and likely video, will be on Ancient Faith Radio.

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