On Sunday, March 8, 2009, Eastern Orthodox Christians from a dozen parishes in San Diego and Riverside counties filled St. George Serbian Orthodox Church—one of San Diego’s architectural and iconographic jewels—to celebrate “The Triumph of Orthodoxy” in a Vesper service.
“I’ve dreamed of this day for fifteen years!” exclaimed Fr. Jon Braun, priest Emeritus of St. Anthony Antiochian parish in La Jolla. While the Orthodox parishes in San Diego have been celebrating this feast day together for many years, it has been sparsely attended in the past and this was the first time in several decades that a Pan-Orthodox choir sang the responses for the city-wide Vesper service. The chorus of 40 singers from nine different parishes was organized and conducted by Valerie Yova, Music Director of St. Anthony's Antiochian Orthodox Church. Ms. Yova is a Founder and former Artistic Director of the Orthodox Christian Chorale of Detroit, Past President of the Pan-Orthodox Society for the Advancement of Liturgical Music and graduate of New England Conservatory. “For a number of reasons, the timing seemed right to begin a pan-Orthodox music ministry here in San Diego, and I’m very grateful to the clergy here for giving us their enthusiastic blessing! We have so much to gain from coming together to share our knowledge and traditions! Not just the musicians, but ALL of us.” stated Yova.