One of the great things about watching a very good movie, and being on the edge of your seat for the whole two hours or more, is waiting for the sequel of that great movie to come out the following year, and be even better. Well, that's what we have with our Youth Music Ministry (YMM) Program. As Paul Jabara, our Sacred Music Institute (SMI) Coordinator, said to the potential YMMers this year, "Once again, and back by popular demand, the Sacred Music Institute will be hosting the second Youth Music Ministry Program at the Antiochian Village, being held from July 10–July 14, 2013. We have listened to your suggestions from last year and promise that this year will be even better, with more singing, more fellowship and more chanting!"
We have been sponsoring the Institute for 28 years now. During that time, we have had mostly adult musicians from our parishes around the Archdiocese. Sometimes we hosted young adults, but not many teens, since they have always been a part of the programs at the Antiochian Village. When Paul took over coordinating the SMI five years ago, the wheels started turning. We all knew that the SMI was a wonderful and inspirational music conference for adults, but Paul realized after his second year as Coordinator that we had never structured anything for our teens. As he said, "After all, without them, who will be our future choristers, chanters and directors?"
At our department meeting held in Atlanta, Georgia, in October, 2011, Paul proposed a structure for the YMM. We formed a committee and the first YMM was held last summer with great success. At the same time, he created the Young Conductor Apprentice Program, where each year one teen is selected to work privately and intensely with an experienced choral conductor. Last year, Maria McClatchy worked closely with Paul, and the results were phenomenal. Today the YMM committee includes Paul Jabara, Chris Farha (who now serves as the YMM coordinator), Charlie Marge, Mareena Boosamra Ball and Regina Roum.
The mission of the YMM is to bring together young Orthodox Christians between the ages of 14 and 18 with a love for music and a desire to serve their Church, to work toward the common goal of understanding the theology of Orthodox hymnography through Choral and Byzantine settings, to the glory of God.
Our program this year will again focus on sight-reading, Byzantine chant, conducting, vocal and choral techniques, rehearsing a choir, and even private vocal instruction, as well as our Young Conductor Apprentice Program. If you know of someone in your parish who is between the ages of 14 and 18, who would like to learn more about the sacred music of our Church, please go to our website  and look at the YMM Application Form. Then go to page 2, and contact the coordinator for your diocese as soon as possible. We may have some scholarships available for those who need assistance, but call soon. This year, the sequel will be even better!