OVER MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
It is with a warm heart and humble spirit that we share the great success of the 80th Serbian Singing Federation (SSF) Festival recently hosted at St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Monroeville (May 28th and 29th). Our parishioners, particularly our choir members, worked and planned tirelessly to host a total of 15 choirs from across the country at our home church. We listened to the many talented voices of our fellow Orthodox Christians in concert both Saturday and Sunday afternoon singing the Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ in all His glory, and of our cultural, historic and folkloric tradition.
The time spent with over 300 people in attendance was enjoyed through delicious food hand-prepared by our choir members and parishioners, live music, refreshing beverages, and lots of dancing. In addition to the extravagant festivities, one of the greatest highlights and blessings was the presence of His Grace, Bishop Irinej. We were, and continue to be, so grateful for his support, insightful teachings, and encouragement to become better Orthodox Christians. His Grace presided over the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy on Sunday of the choir festival. In his homily, our Bishop reminded us how important it is that our senses should be open to God’s Grace for us to experience our faith through worship and music, which elevates us from the sensory to the sublime. During the festival, it was through the listening of wonderful music that we found ourselves in touch with the Grace of God.
Our continuation to perpetuate not just the Serbian culture, but especially that of our Orthodox Christian faith has been the catalyst behind lifelong friendships across our nation. It was with great joy to watch each choir with members spanning generations. Parents and grandparents singing with their children and grandchildren, the legacy of the Serbian Singing Federation is well preserved. Some choir members, in fact, received honorary pins recognizing 50 years of participation in the SSF. Two of these individuals were St. Nicholas choir members from our parish, Mr. Pero Prpa and Mr. Daniel Jovanovich. Furthermore, our very own Snezena Lazich directed the vibrant junior choir for this years’ festival. The youthful voices are the future of the SSF, and it was an honor to have them in Monroeville.
We applaud each choir, choir director, and singer for their commitment and generously sharing their God-given talents, especially our own festival director, Janice Smargie, who pours her heart and soul into the choir. It was a true blessing to witness and participate in this event for the first time, while supporting my dear choir as the hosts. On behalf of the St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church of Monroeville, the SSF, and all the participating choirs, we thoroughly enjoyed the time spent this past weekend and look forward to next year event being hosted in Chicago, IL.