The Spirit of Orthodoxy Choir was formed in 1997 and is pan-Orthodox, composed of singers from various Orthodox jurisdictions in the NY-NJ-PA area. The choir is committed to singing the great works of Orthodox music in the English language. The Spirit of Orthodoxy has performed numerous concerts throughout the metropolitan area and has sung at the opening of the “Treasuries of Russia” Exhibit at the NJ State Museum in 1998; at the 1999 convention of the Eastern Region, American Choral Directors Association; and at the 2001 and 2002 Memorial Day Pilgrimages at St. Tikhon’s Seminary. In August 2003, the choir made a musical pilgrimage to Alaska in 2003 at the invitation of His Grace, Bishop Nikolai of Anchorage and Sitka.

 

In 2005, among other concerts, the choir sang in NYC at St. Malachy’s Church (the Actors’ Chapel) and at the Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Protection, where concert proceeds benefited IOCC’s Asia Disaster (Tsunami) Response. On 9/11/2005, The Choir presented “Orthodox Liturgical Music of Remembrance and Hope” at Sts. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, Jersey City, the closest Orthodox church to the site of the 2001 WTC tragedy. Concerts proceeds were shared between the Jersey City Firefighters’ Distress Fund and IOCC’s Hurricane (Katrina) Emergency Response effort.

THE CHOIR

The Spirit of Orthodoxy Choir was formed in 1997 and is pan-Orthodox, composed of singers from various Orthodox jurisdictions in the NY-NJ-PA area. The choir is committed to singing the great works of Orthodox music in the English language. The Spirit of Orthodoxy has performed numerous concerts throughout the metropolitan area and has sung at the opening of the "Treasuries of Russia" Exhibit at the NJ State Museum in 1998; at the 1999 convention of the Eastern Region, American Choral Directors Association; and at the 2001 and 2002 Memorial Day Pilgrimages at St. Tikhon's Seminary. In August 2003, the choir made a musical pilgrimage to Alaska in 2003 at the invitation of His Grace, Bishop Nikolai of Anchorage and Sitka.

 

In 2005, among other concerts, the choir sang in NYC at St. Malachy's Church (the Actors' Chapel) and at the Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Protection, where concert proceeds benefited IOCC's Asia Disaster (Tsunami) Response. On 9/11/2005, The Choir presented "Orthodox Liturgical Music of Remembrance and Hope" at Sts. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, Jersey City, the closest Orthodox church to the site of the 2001 WTC tragedy. Concerts proceeds were shared between the Jersey City Firefighters' Distress Fund and IOCC's Hurricane (Katrina) Emergency Response effort.

THE DIRECTOR

Stratos J. Mandalakis

Stratos is a graduate of Fordham University with a BA in Byzantine Studies and Music History/Composition. He holds an MA in Eastern Christian Theology from the John XXII Institute/Maryknoll School of Theology. His education included study with Frs. John Meyendorff, Stanley Harakas, Robert Taft, SJ, George Maloney, SJ, and Archbishop Joseph Raya. Stratos continues his education by studying the ancient art of Byzantine Psaltic Music.

 

Stratos studied voice with Donna Jeanne Schütz and has participated in choral and conducting masters classes with Robert Paige, Mallory Thompson and Robert Shaw.  He has performed at Carnegie Hall under the direction of composer John Leavitt.

 

Stratos lectures and has been published in the areas of Orthodox Theology, choral technique and Byzantine Church History. He has taught high school choral music and has conducted select regional choirs.  Stratos is presently the Operations Manager of Corby Associates, Inc., a specialized construction company. He also teaches Byzantine Musicology in the Antiochian House of Studies/Saint Stephen’s Course.

 

Stratos has been the choir director and head chanter of Saint Anthony’s Antiochian Orthodox Church, Bergenfield, NJ for the past 20 years.  He is a sub-Deacon, the president of the Fellowship Chapter, preaches monthly and is involved with both the parishes’ music and outreach/education ministries. He, the chanters and church choir have recorded a CD entitled, "With an Open Heart: Sounds of Worship at St. Anthony Orthodox Church, Bergenfield, NJ".

 

Stratos lives in Harrington Park, NJ with his wife Suzanne and two children, Christopher and Kathryn.

THE FOUNDING DIRECTOR

Aleksei V. Shipovalnikov 

Aleksei V. Shipovalnikov was born in Rostov on the Don and studied composition, polyphony and conducting at the Gnesin Sate Conservatory and the Moscow Institute of Culture. His post-graduate studies included a master class with Leonard Bernstein in 1988. He served as Artistic Director and Manager of the Moscow State University Symphony Orchestra and Academic Choir and has conducted in the Soviet Union, West Germany and Poland. He established a reputation during the Communist era for innovative programming in spite of the political risks involved. In 1990 he moved to the United States, where he has served as Choir Director of Christ the Savior Church, San Francisco and Music Director of Slavyanka Men's Slavic Chorus. He was Professor of Liturgical Music at St. Tikhon's Seminary, South Canaan, PA. He is currently Music Director at Sts. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, Jersey City, NJ. He was Professor of Liturgical Music at St. Tikhon's Seminary, South Canaan, PA.

 
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