Father Jon Braun’s journey from the Campus Crusade for Christ to the priesthood in the Orthodox Church has been marked by a quest for suitable music in worship. This missionary-minded pastor would exhort church musicians: “Give us music we can pray to!” with the added implication that some styles of music might be better suited for Orthodox worship in America than others. When the present setting of the Paschal Troparion took shape in this composer’s mind, based on a pentatonic scale reminiscent of Appalachian folk songs and incorporating the open sonorities of shape-note singing, Father Jon immediately came to mind as the perfect recipient of the dedication. Indeed, a stylistic blending of musical elements that are recognizably “national” and at the same time exhibit tangible “folk” elements resonates in people’s hearts in a manner that is entirely appropriate (and traditional) for Orthodox Christian worship. This has been attested to wherever this composition has been performed, most recently at the 2014 Pan-Orthodox Liturgical Music Symposium, held June 12-15 at Northern Kentucky University.--V. M.
This piece is also available in SSA voicing.