Christendom College has always been a place where musicians have found a home. Through the vibrant theater group musical productions, open mic nights, talent show events, instrument recitals, orchestra performances, and choir singing opportunities, Christendom students have been able to marry their love for the liberal arts and their desire to continue to utilize their God-given and acquired musical skills.
A number of years ago, the college added a music minor to its academic offerings, with a focus on liturgical music. Under the direction of Dr. Kurt Poterack, this liturgical music minor has been a God-send to many students who are passionate about improving their knowledge and love for music in college.
“We try and cultivate the treasury of sacred music whose integral parts include Gregorian chant and the sacred vocal polyphony of masters such as Palestrina, Victoria, and Josquin des Prez,” says Poterack, who holds a Ph.D. in music composition from Michigan State University. “We strive to render present, in resonant beauty, the sonic vesture of divine worship through choral ensembles that sing at the college’s liturgy, and the Schola Gregoriana for men, which beautifies the Sunday liturgy as well by chanting the traditional propers.”
This fall, the college will offer a music theory course (MUSC 302) taught by alumna Dr. Larissa Fedoryka, who has a long history and association with the college. She is the daughter of the college’s second president, Dr. Damian Fedoryka, which allowed her to grow up close to campus as a child. After attending Christendom for a couple of years, Fedoryka completed her degree in biology from Franciscan University of Steubenville, before earning her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017.
Fedoryka is a classically trained cellist who began her cello career at the age of three. As a child, she joined her 9 siblings who toured as a classical chamber ensemble called The Fedoryka Family Players, performing in venues nationally which culminated in multiple performances at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as well as a performance at The Wolf Trap International Children’s Festival. More recently, she made the transition to world music, touring with various artists such as Marco Antonio Solis, Croatia’s former pop artist Tajci, the increasingly well-known Celtic/Americana band – Scythian, and most recently with Mexico’s pop diva Gloria Trevi. In 2010, Fedoryka was hired by The Harmony Project – The LA Symphony’s program to enrich inner city youth through music. There, she arranged pop songs for orchestral music and oversaw two end of the year recitals.
In the class, which will be offered each Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30-9:45am, the students will learn the rudiments of theory, ear training, and sight singing in this music theory class.
“We will look at musical concepts from previous centuries as well as take a look at how music is written today,” says Fedoryka. “Students will learn scales, arpeggios, key signatures, rhythms, how to transpose and chord progressions, all the while solidifying these skills through sight-singing, conducting and easy compositions.”
For more information about the college’s liturgical music minor, go here.