Choir practice at the Orthodox Church of All Saints of Southern North Carolina was interrupted on Saturday by a choir member demanding that hymns be sung exactly as they are printed on the sheet music, but choir director John Wasilko wasn’t having it.
“It’s chant music,” he explained. “Just because each syllable has a quarter note above it doesn’t mean you sing it like train cars going over a joint in the tracks. We stretch some of them out a bit!”
“But that’s not what’s on the page!” complained Antonina Thompson, who has been a member of the Orthodox Church for one year after leaving the Strict Literal Infallible Inerrant Word of Bible Scripture Church. “If you want it sung that way, you have to change the notes on the sheet music.” Previously, Thompson had also objected to the choir director’s habit of stretching out whole notes when the altar servers were taking longer than expected to bring the candles out at the Little Entrance.
“I love the Orthodox Church and its teachings of mystery and things about God being unknowable and unmeasurable. I couldn’t deal with all that strictness and literalism back at my old church,” she said during a brief break in choir practice, after which she shouted at the choir director, “But that’s not what’s on the page!”