From August 21-27, 2023, the ELCIR Theological Institute in Koltushi, Leningrad Oblast, held the 4th and final class & exam period of the Cantor Course. Fifteen students attended class and took exams, making it the biggest class of church musicians in the Institute’s history.
The course’s main topics were the musical setting of the Sacraments and occasional services, the use of ethnographic material in worship practice, using music with children and directing a children’s choir, and the role of music in the diaconal ministry.
On August 21 and 22, the class studied the Book of Concord with Sergei Isayev, Cand. Sc. (History). The leitmotif of that session was the Augsburg Confession.
On August 23, the course students met with deaconess, theologian and physician Irina Makkonen of St. George’s Lutheran Church in Koltushi, discussing how a cantor can participate in the diaconal ministry and use the youth hymnal as a tool.
On August 24, the students held a Service of the Word at St. George’s Lutheran Church of Koltushi, according to the order of the children’s worship service. The worship service was presided over by Rev. Ivan Hutter, facilitator of the course’s liturgical workshop. Coming from five of the ELCIR deaneries, the students sang hymns in Russian, Finnish, Mordvin, Buryat, and Tatar. The instruments used for accompaniment included organ, guitar, domra, psalmodicon, flute, jouhikko, mouth harp, and hand bells.
On August 26, 2023, the students took an exam in the basics of organ performance. The exam was in the form of a concert at St. George’s Lutheran. The program included music pieces by J. S. Bach, Johann Gottfried Walther, Johann Christian Bach, Johann Pachelbel, Heinrich Wilhelm Stolze, Hans-André Stamm, Charles François Gounod, and others. The second part of the concert was an exam in choir conducting.