40th Annual Cleveland Landmark Christmas Concert
On Sunday afternoon, December 18th, we attended the 40th Annual Cleveland Landmark Christmas Concert at St. Theodosius Cathedral on Starkweather Avenue in the Tremont area of Cleveland.
We had always wanted to visit this church because its choirmaster, Mr. Kenneth J. Kovach is a very good friend of ours and a section of the Academy Award winning motion picture, "The Deer Hunter" was filmed there. Upon arrival, we obtained an information sheet about the Cathedral from which we learned that the parish was formed by Russian immigrants in 1896 and the Cathedral, itself, was dedicated in July of 1913.
All of the attendees were welcomed by Archpriest John E. Zdinak, Dean of the Cathedral, who acknowledged that he, himself, had served there for 18 years while the choirmaster (aka our friend Mr. Kovach) had "been here longer than dirt" which amazed us so we checked it out in our program and learned that Mr. Kovach has held that post for 45 years now!
The choir concert, itself, was composed of 13 songs and carols that we had never heard before in addition to several carols sung in a Carpatho-Russian chant. In between the musical passages, Mr. Kovach offered various readings that told the story of the Nativity. But at the end, all of the attendees were invited to accompany the choir in the singing of songs that everyone was familiar with like "O Come, All Ye Faithful"; "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"; and "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen." Mr. Kovach then divided the audience into different sections for the singing of "We Three Kings" and the program came to a close with the singing of "Silent Night" in both Russian (the choir) and English (everyone present). It was all quite lovely and its one and a half hour length seemed much shorter.
During one of his short speeches between songs, Mr. Kovach smiled and urged us not to be too "distracted by "Jingle Bells." He went on to say, "oh sure, we must be merry but we must never forget the reason for the season."
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC