The Parish Choir
St. Sergius parish was founded in 1950 (read the history of the parish here) . The first choir director was Mr. Feoktist Skorobatskij. Mr. Skorobatskij studied in Poland at the Orthodox Theological Seminary in Warsaw and was a scholar of the Church. Once the church was built on East 67th Street in Cleveland the choir direction came under the capable direction of Mr. Vitali Malashkowicz. Choir members at that time were: Peter Selenoi (now a priest in ROCOR-MP), his wife Victoria, Matushka Olga Smirnova, Mr. Pavel Vetrov, Lydia (Karkut) and Lubov Golik, Vera Nykulak, Nina Trautman, Irene (Demsey) Firsova, Taisia Pshyshianitsa, Mr. Sekret, Mr. Shybin, John Onopko (A Protodeacon in ROCOR-MP, Reposed), Mr.Zvantsov, and Mr. Pianov. Mr. Malashkowicz was instrumental in the planning of a proposed new church on the South-west side of Cleveland. However, it was not to be God's will. Mr. Malashkowicz suffered an aneurysm reposed at the age of 48, thus delaying all plans for a new church until the early 70's.
In 1966, Mr. Vassily Baranov took over as choirmaster. The choir's membership continued to grow, reaching close to 25 members. He re-wrote many of the compositions that were used in the liturgy which were of classical origins to accommodate the size of the choir. Mr. Baranov's knowledge of music and choir direction garnished a great deal of respect from the choir. Choir membership at that time consisted of many of the those mentioned previously, and included his spouse, Maria, his granddaughter Lora Hirtle, Dr. Anatoli Glen (Golubintsov), Mr. Stefan Machachey (a long-time reader in the parish of St. Sergius), Mr. Orlov, Ms. Tarakanova, Mrs.Wangul and Mrs. Tarabanov. Dr. Glenn also conducted the first children's youth choir for a short period. Mr. Baranov retired in 1971.
Upon the retirement of Mr Baranov, Mr. Miroshnichenko took over as choir director and proved invaluable in making a smooth transition of leadership. Unfortunately, he passed away a few years later and once again the choir set about searching for a new director. Mr. Feoktist Skorobatskij came out of retirement and provided interim choir directorship, until the new church was completed in Parma. Mr. Skorobatskij retired and Mr. Stephan Jolob, for a short period, took over the responsibility of directing the choir until Mr. George Perekrestov (ROCOR-MP) took over the direction of the choir.
George Perekrestov was born in Canada and completed a Bachelor of Theology at the Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, NY. Upon taking direction of the choir he implemented new rules for participation in the choir, including regular choir rehearsals. He brought in new music and a new style of singing, much of which reflected the musical background he obtained in Jordanville. Mr. Perekrestov stayed for several years and moved away to take another position at a ROCOR-MP parish in San Francisco. After Mr. Perekrestov departed, Mr. Jolob, Rev. Serge Boulter (GOC-K), Lydia (Karkut) and several others filled in until a new appointee was found to fill the position of full time choir director.
After an extensive search, Mr. Michael Miloshev was drafted out of retirement and came to serve as Choir Director at our Parish. He had directed in Bulgaria and is a very well-known and highly respected choral director. Under the leadership of Mr. Miloshev the choir once again under-went a 'reconstruction'. Choir members learned a new style of singing and were introduced to many unfamiliar yet beautiful liturgical compositions. The choir grew in numbers and capability under his competent direction and included many new faces, amongst which included, Mr. Serge Kaminsky and his daughter Larissa, and a classically-trained singer Mrs. Tatiana Barany. Mr. Miloshev retired to the Convalescent home at the Novo Diveevo convent in Spring Valley, NY, where he remains to this day.
In 1989, after the retirement of Mr. Miloshev, Dr. Peter Jermihov was hired as the Cathedral's choir director. Dr. Jermihov served as an Orthodox choir director from age 12 and was raised in Chicago's Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral. He received his doctoral degree in choral conducting from the University of Illinois and, subsequently, studied orchestral conducting at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory under the master teacher Il'ya Musin. Under the rectorship of Fr. Peter Burlakov, Dr. Jermihov was tonsured a reader by Archbishop Alipy. Dr. Jermihov served as choir director at St. Sergius for three years before assuming a new choir directing position in New Jersey. Under his direction, the choir began to rehearse on a regular basis and attracted a membership of loyal and hardworking choir members. He introduced the parish to Yuri Petcherkin, who was then hired as the new choir director
Yuri and Inna Petcherkin came to St. Sergius's parish from Chicago in 1991. They both studied and had met while attending the famed Conservatory of Music in Moscow. Mr. Petcherkin, like those who had preceded him, brought along a new style of conducting and new music. The passing of choral leadership from the direction of Mr. Jermihov, who introduced the choir to "Znameni Raspev" and unison singing, to Mr. Petcherkin, who also revered traditional Russian Church music made for a smooth transition. Mr. and Mrs. Petcherkin proved invaluable to other aspects of parish life as well, since both were eager educators and dedicated servants of the parish. During their stay at St. Sergius, the Saturday Russian School was organized and led by them, under the direction of Rev. Peter Burlakov. They also devoted much time in organizing the annual parish Christmas yolka, which was put on by the Church School. They stayed with the parish for approximately nine years until they were offered a position, which they accepted, at the St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington D.C. They now reside in Bethesda, MD.
After another extensive search for a full time choir director, the parish hired Mr. Adrzej Boublej. Mr. Boublej arrived from Sweden in the fall of 2000. He graduated from the Orthodox Theological Seminary in Warsaw and the Jableczna Monastery (Poland). Mr. Boublej received a professorial fellowship to study at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy in the discipline of choral direction. The local clergy and laity alike appreciated Mr. Boublej's strong knowledge of the Church Typicon. In October of 2002 he left his duties at St. Sergius Cathedral and returned to his native Polish Orthodox Church to assist with choir directing duties in his former diocese.