The Cancer Akathist

AKATHIST TO THE MOTHER OF GOD: HEALER OF CANCER

Ser­vice Music by Robert Sirico


View the Entire Ser­vice on YouTube!

Ded­i­ca­tion

This Musi­cal Offer­ing of the Akathist, ‘Healer of Can­cer’ is ded­i­cated to the Blessed Mem­ory of my late-Wife, Lisa Sirico, who after nearly four years of fight­ing for her life, fell asleep in the Lord on Pascha 2009. While it may seem to the sur­vivors that she lost her bat­tle, she was eter­nally cured as she entered into her eter­nal rest in a place of refresh­ment where sor­row and sigh­ing have fled away. “And he that sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’” Rev 21:5  May the Blessed Mem­ory of the Ser­vant of the Lord, Lisa, Beloved Wife and Mother,  be Eternal †

Lisa Sirico (d. Pascha April 19, 2009)

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eter­nal life, to which you were also called and have con­fessed the good con­fes­sion in the pres­ence of many wit­nesses.” 1 Tim­o­thy 6:12

 

The Sacred Ser­vice of Prayer for those Affected by Cancer

Pan­tanessa; Queen of All, Healer of Cancer

The Ortho­dox Chris­t­ian Music Project is pleased to col­lab­o­rate with the highly tal­ented musi­cians of the Holy Vir­gin Pro­tec­tion Cathe­dral Choir (OCA) and the Russ­ian Ortho­dox Syn­odal Choir (ROCOR) under the expert direc­tion of Peter Fekula.  The CD fea­tures the orig­i­nal Akathist ser­vice music set­ting com­posed by OCMP founder Robert Sirico dur­ing the Sum­mer of 2010, as well as tra­di­tional hymns of the Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church sung in English.

The events of the night included the Can­cer Prayer Ser­vice con-celebrated by Bishop Michael (OCA) and Bishop Jerome (ROCOR), as well as a mov­ing pre­sen­ta­tion (not recorded here) by Dr. Steven Sug­ar­man, Direc­tor of Onco­log­i­cal Research Memo­r­ial Sloan Ket­ter­ing Can­cer Hos­pi­tal, NYC fol­low­ing the ser­vice.  This stun­ning live record­ing was dig­i­tally cap­tured and mas­tered by record­ing Engi­neer Seraphim Hul­ing, and processed to the finest stan­dards for com­mer­cial release.  The sound qual­ity on the CD is so clear, that the lis­tener will feel as if she or he is really present in the cathe­dral with the hun­dreds of faith­ful who came to pray and sing for them­selves and their loved ones affected by cancer.

A Per­sonal Note from the Composer

The inspi­ra­tion for the new musi­cal set­ting of the ‘Healer of Can­cer’ Akathist comes from a per­sonal con­nec­tion of fre­quent pri­vate devo­tion through­out the nearly four years that my late-wife Lisa bat­tled metasta­tic breast can­cer. One of the high­lights of the sacred text is how the prayer of the Ortho­dox Church responds to the needs of the suf­fer­ing ser­vant as well as all those con­cerned with the mod­ern treat­ment and care of the afflicted from the dis­ease of Can­cer in its mul­ti­plic­ity of types.  While pray­ing through this text, one will undoubt­edly iden­tify with at least one of those men­tioned in the peti­tions, and come to know that this prayer was com­posed ‘about’ us and ‘for’ us all: that the ten­der­ness and com­pas­sion of the Mother of God is extended to all who ask that She heal our infir­mi­ties by Her grace.

Acknowl­edge­ments

The Ortho­dox Chris­t­ian Music Project grate­fully acknowl­edges and thanks the Rev. Abbess Michaila of the St. Pai­sius Ser­bian Ortho­dox Monastery in Saf­ford Ari­zona for her sup­port, encour­age­ment, and bless­ing for the com­ple­tion of a new musi­cal set­ting of the Akathist to the Mother of God, “Healer of Can­cer”. The St. Pai­sius monas­tic com­mu­nity pub­lishes selected ser­vice texts and ‘puts the jewel of faith into the hands of the peo­ple’ so that the lay­man can offer pri­vate devo­tion. It is my hope that those who lis­ten will be moved by this music and find in it com­fort and peace.

Sin­cerely,

Robert Sirico

Com­poser & Founder OCMP

Recent Posts

A Cantata in Concert: ‘The Life of St. Seraphim of Sarov’

Com­posed by Robert Sirico

In the Spring of 2016, let’s pre­miere an orig­i­nal a capella choral con­cert about one of the most cel­e­brated saints in Russ­ian history!

Please help us to pre­miere the ‘Life of St. Seraphim’ can­tata in the Spring of 2016!

Please donate now! 

The Biographical Icon depicting significant events in the Life of St. Seraphim of Sarov

The Bio­graph­i­cal Icon depict­ing sig­nif­i­cant events in the Life of St. Seraphim of Sarov

In the United States, there is an increas­ing inter­est by Amer­i­can choirs in the lit­er­a­ture and musi­cal her­itage of Rus­sia and the near East, as evi­denced by their more fre­quent per­for­mances and record­ings of sacred music by such lumi­nar­ies as Tchaikovsky and Rach­mani­noff, as well as the rarer works by less famil­iar com­posers like Pavel Ches­nokov and Alexan­der Gretchani­nov, to name a few!

Iron­i­cally, no com­poser of the late clas­si­cal or mod­ern era has cho­sen as his sub­ject, St. Seraphim of Sarov (1754–1833), the MOST famous Ortho­dox Chris­t­ian saint in all of Rus­sia, even though thou­sands of books and films for adults and chil­dren have been pub­lished for decades about his extra­or­di­nary life and mir­a­cle working.

It was for this rea­son, and an act of per­sonal devo­tion, that Amer­i­can com­poser Robert Sirico chose to write the can­tata, ‘The Life of St. Seraphim of Sarov’ in Eng­lish, so that the story which has cap­ti­vated all of Rus­sia and the East for two cen­turies would be acces­si­ble to us here in the West.

This con­cert is his­tory in the mak­ing!  NO known com­poser has pro­duced as thor­ough a musi­cal treat­ment of this great saint’s life and legacy as is pre­sented here and now.

In telling the story of this beloved Saint, this clas­si­cally styled choral can­tata uses sacred texts from Russ­ian Ortho­dox church ser­vices, as well as an abun­dance of orig­i­nal hymnog­ra­phy (reli­gious poetry) to sup­ply the texts for the his­tor­i­cal scenes which had not yet been written!

Please donate now!

in_lumine___11_of_162_

In Lumine’ Con­ducted by Nicholas Reeves per­form­ing sacred music com­posed by Robert Sirico

We want this con­cert to be over­flow­ing with peo­ple who trea­sure sacred music, and value the beauty it brings to their lives and to the world. St. Seraphim of Sarov is an inter­na­tional fig­ure known and loved by mil­lions all over the globe. His mes­sages of faith, hope, love, and peace have inspired gen­er­a­tions of God-believing Chris­tians since he first re-inspired his own nation at the turn of the nine­teenth century.

The ‘Life of St. Seraphim’ can­tata has been a work in progress since Sep­tem­ber of 2012, with six months of intense his­tor­i­cal research on the bio­graph­i­cal icon fea­tured above in the project image before a sin­gle note was writ­ten in March 2013!  It took 2 years of daily writ­ing and edit­ing until the first com­plete draft of the St. Seraphim Can­tata was assem­bled in March 2015.  Final edit­ing has com­menced, and a defin­i­tive per­for­mance edi­tion will be ready before rehearsals would begin.  Many have already been fol­low­ing the progress and devel­op­ment of the St. Seraphim Can­tata on the web­site of the Ortho­dox Chris­t­ian Music Project  and its related Face­book page, and have expressed an eager­ness to hear and enjoy this new choral work.  Fol­low the links and enjoy!

The full can­tata has an esti­mated per­for­mance time of 2 hours and 10 min­utes and requires var­i­ous vocal tex­tures includ­ing TWO full SATB cho­ruses and soloists!  It is now time to pre­miere this beau­ti­ful piece of music in a live con­cert, as well as to make a pro­fes­sion­ally mas­tered record­ing avail­able for sale and dis­tri­b­u­tion as a CD or dig­i­tal download.

Please help with your gen­er­ous dona­tions to make this con­cert and CD a real­ity!  Please donate now!

How will you know if you should take a chance on fund­ing or attend­ing this con­cert? Go to the playlist of the OCMP YouTube Chan­nel and lis­ten to past per­for­mances of other orig­i­nal music writ­ten by Robert Sirico and con­ducted by Dr. Nicholas Reeves.  Many of those per­for­mances were pro­fes­sion­ally remas­tered and are avail­able for sam­ple and pur­chase on ITunes and CD Baby.  If you enjoyed the choral style, lush har­monies, and sweep­ing melodies of Robert Sirico’s other orig­i­nal music, then you will cer­tainly enjoy this new can­tata which con­tin­ues and expands his com­pos­ing style.

 We are ask­ing for back­ers to help raise $40,000 to cover the pro­duc­tion expenses asso­ci­ated with launch­ing a musi­cal con­cert venture.

Let’s take a look at the bud­get and what your dona­tions provide:

Per­form­ers:

  • 32 singers to rehearse and per­form @ $500 each + inci­den­tals =  $18,000
  • 1 tenor soloist = $800
  • 1 Rehearsal pianist = $500
  • 1 Conductor/ Artis­tic Direc­tor, Dr. Nicholas Reeves = $1,000

 Venue (Loca­tion to be announced)

  • Per­for­mance Space Rental  $1000 – $5,000

Print­ing

  • 35 Scores = $1000
  • Pro­grams = $1000
  • Com­mem­o­ra­tive pro­gram book­lets = $1000

Adver­tis­ing at max $1000

Record­ing Ser­vices = $5,000

  • Audio Engi­neer
  • Record­ing equip­ment rental
  • Cd pro­duc­tion
  • Com­mem­o­ra­tive Con­cert DVD  = $1000

 Inci­den­tal Fees, Taxes, Licenses, & Per­mits = $5,000

A note from Composer :

Dear Future Backers,

Thank you for read­ing this Kick­starter project page, and for con­sid­er­ing whether or not you want to finan­cially sup­port this project.

I know this is a lot of money, and that you have many choices where to invest.  If I didn’t feel this project was wor­thy of your con­sid­er­a­tion, I wouldn’t waste your time.  I have writ­ten this music out of love and per­sonal devo­tion in a time when there is so much dark­ness in the world.

How often have I seen the joy that beau­ti­ful music brings to audi­ences, and have longed in my heart to offer my gifts and tal­ents to con­tribute to the effect of such a blessed gift.  Take a chance on this and you won’t be disappointed.

If this project is ‘over­funded’, every addi­tional dol­lar will be used to upgrade the per­for­mance, increase the size of the choir, and /or add addi­tional per­for­mance dates.  As an act of grat­i­tude, I am offer­ing mean­ing­ful incen­tives such as icon prints, and enjoy­able books because this is not‘just another gig’, but hope­fully as trans­for­ma­tive event that touches your lives in a pro­found way.

 Do you want to know more about the project, or the music, and you didn’t get enough of it here?  Write or call me;  I’d love to dis­cuss it and answer your questions.

Sin­cerely,

Robert Sirico ‚ Composer

RISKS AND CHALLENGES

Orga­niz­ing a music con­cert fea­tur­ing a new com­po­si­tion poses sev­eral chal­lenges that must be dealt with once fund­ing is secured. The mes­sage of the music is beau­ti­ful, but to make it hap­pen requires thor­ough plan­ning and logistics.

The first chal­lenge is to actu­ally audi­tion and hire highly trained singers who are avail­able for the many rehearsals and the selected per­for­mance date(s). A work of the mag­ni­tude and dif­fi­culty of the St. Seraphim Can­tata must be per­formed by trained vocal­ists who can meet the demands of the lit­er­a­ture. It is an excit­ing ben­e­fit for newly minted pro­fes­sion­als to accept con­tracts for such a large work because the expe­ri­ence and pro­fes­sional expo­sure helps them broaden their reper­toire and looks won­der­ful on a resume .

In a like man­ner, an expe­ri­enced con­duc­tor must be hired who will study the score, teach the choir, and work with the com­poser to real­ize his vision. For­tu­nately, Nicholas Reeves, D.MA, com­poser, con­duc­tor and pro­fes­sor of Sacred Music at St. Vladimir’s Ortho­dox The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, has read the score and gra­ciously agreed to assem­ble cho­ris­ters and pre­miere the piece if we can secure the fund­ing. Other con­certs we have pro­duced together in the past can be found on the YouTube chan­nel OMCP33.

Select­ing a venue is done simul­ta­ne­ously when assem­bling a choir. Since per­for­mance spaces must be rented, we have to check var­i­ous loca­tions for afford­abil­ity and avail­abil­ity. Once a loca­tion and date of the pre­mier is secured, then con­cert pro­mo­tion and adver­tise­ment is under­taken to ensure max­i­mum atten­dance! New York City is the cross-roads of the world; we intend to find a venue within it or its imme­di­ate envi­rons so that the St. Seraphim Con­cert will be read­ily and eas­ily acces­si­ble from any direction!

REWARDS

  • Pledge $25 or more:  Please donate now!

    Gen­er­ous Donors who pledge $25 or more will receive the fol­low­ing rewards in appreciation:

    1. Acknowl­edge­ment in the Con­cert Pro­gram
    2. A com­pli­men­tary 4″ x 6″ pho­to­graph of the Icon of St. Seraphim

  • Pledge $100 or more:  Please donate now!

    Gen­er­ous Donors who pledge $100 or more will receive the fol­low­ing rewards:

    1. Acknowl­edge­ment in the Con­cert Pro­gram as a Gra­cious Sup­port­ing Donor
    2. A com­pli­men­tary 4″ x 6″ pho­to­graph of the Icon of St. Seraphim
    3. 20% Reduced Admis­sion
    4. A com­pli­men­tary copy of the con­cert CD
    5. A com­pli­men­tary 4″ x 6″ pho­to­graph of the Icon of St. Seraphim
    6. A com­pli­men­tary copy of the book­let, ‘In the Foot­steps of a Saint: The Sarov Her­mitage Life and Teach­ings of St. Seraphim’

  • Pledge $500 or more:  Please donate now!

    Gen­er­ous Donors who pledge $500 or more will receive the fol­low­ing rewards:

    1. An invi­ta­tion to attend the dress rehearsal
    2. Acknowl­edge­ment in the Con­cert Pro­gram as a Found­ing Sil­ver Tier Donor
    3. Inclu­sion in the photo doc­u­men­tary
    4. Sil­ver Tier Priv­i­leged Con­cert Seat­ing for the donor and free admis­sion for 1 guest
    5. A com­pli­men­tary copy of the con­cert CD and a 8″ x 10″ pho­to­graph of the Icon of St. Seraphim
    6. A com­pli­men­tary copy of the book from which the Can­tata was adapted, ‘An Extra­or­di­nary Peace: Flame of Sarov’

  • Pledge $1,000 or more:  Please donate now!

    Gen­er­ous Donors who pledge $1000 or more will receive the fol­low­ing rewards:

    1. An invi­ta­tion to attend the dress rehearsal and a 30 minute inter­view with the Com­poser
    2. Acknowl­edge­ment in the Con­cert Pro­gram as a Gold Tier Found­ing Donor
    3. Inclu­sion in the photo doc­u­men­tary
    4. Gold Tier Priv­i­leged Con­cert Seat­ing for the donor and 2 guests
    5. A com­pli­men­tary copy of the con­cert CD and a 8″ x 10″ pho­to­graph of the Icon of St. Seraphim
    6. A com­pli­men­tary copy of the book from which the ‘Life of St. Seraphim’ Can­tata was adapted, ‘An Extra­or­di­nary Peace: Flame of Sarov’

  • Pledge $5,000 or more:  Please donate now!

    Gen­er­ous Donors who pledge $5000 or more will receive the fol­low­ing rewards:

    1. An invi­ta­tion to attend the dress rehearsal and a 60 minute inter­view with the Com­poser
    2. Acknowl­edge­ment in the Con­cert Pro­gram as a Plat­inum Tier Found­ing Donor
    3. Inclu­sion in the photo doc­u­men­tary
    4. Plat­inum Tier Priv­i­leged Con­cert Seat­ing for the donor and up to 4 guests
    5. A com­pli­men­tary copy of the con­cert CD and a wooden icon print of St. Seraphim of Sarov
    6. A com­pli­men­tary copy of the book from which the ‘Life of St. Seraphim’ Can­tata was adapted, ‘An Extra­or­di­nary Peace: Flame of Sarov’
    7. A framed copy of the orig­i­nal hand­writ­ten finale, auto­graphed by the composer.

  1. Update: The Opening Troparion of the St. Seraphim Cantata Comments Off on Update: The Opening Troparion of the St. Seraphim Cantata
  2. The Opening Troparion of the St. Seraphim Cantata Comments Off on The Opening Troparion of the St. Seraphim Cantata
  3. The First Complete Draft of the St. Seraphim Cantata Comments Off on The First Complete Draft of the St. Seraphim Cantata
  4. The Completion of the First Draft of the St. Seraphim Cantata! Comments Off on The Completion of the First Draft of the St. Seraphim Cantata!
  5. Another Preview of the Finale of the St. Seraphim Cantata Comments Off on Another Preview of the Finale of the St. Seraphim Cantata
  6. A Preview of the Finale of the St. Seraphim Cantata! Comments Off on A Preview of the Finale of the St. Seraphim Cantata!
  7. The Glorification of St. Seraphim of Sarov Comments Off on The Glorification of St. Seraphim of Sarov
  8. A Blessed Discovery Comments Off on A Blessed Discovery
  9. An overview of Composition Progress during Summer 2014 Comments Off on An overview of Composition Progress during Summer 2014