CHRISTMAS WITH THE COMMUNITY IN WINDSOR - REFLECTIONS OF THE JOY OF CHRIST’S NATIVITY
Hristos se Rodi! Christ is Born!
With enthusiasm, this past March, SSS Gračanica in Windsor, jumped back into the swing of singing every Sunday Liturgy, at memorial services and weddings. Although small in number, we eagerly embraced our role in the community and continue to offer our God-given talent.
Every first Sunday of the month, we host Fellowship Hour, and serve refreshments and light snacks to the faithful as we build and strengthen the bonds of our friendships with one another, and nurture and encourage our family and friends. The outpouring of support and genuine camaraderie is deeply touching. We look forward to continuing in 2023.
SSS Gračanica has a formidable history since its inception in 1949 with spiritual and secular choral repertoire. Through the years we have seen many members come and go with some very dedicated members who have stood the test of time. In April, we congratulated Denise Chuk, Čedomir Ciganović and Anne Dube on 50 years of dedication to the choir! Serbian Singing Federation Assistant Executive Secretary, Petra Koprivica, presented them with gold pins in recognition of their years of service. In September, we acknowledged Lily Ciganović on 68 years of membership! As a committed choir member, Lily has a heart of gold! She is a remarkable woman whose dedication to the choir is second to none. We thank them for their endless sacrifice, support, joyful singing and for serving God and our parish so faithfully! Živeli na Mnogaja Ljeta!
We are proud of devoted choir member, Donna Radanović who was honoured to be Kuma of the Kolo Srpski Sestara “Kneginja Jelena” and Denise Chuk and former member Draža Chuk, who were honoured as Kumovi of Gračanica Church this year. Their loyalty to the choir and Gračanica Church is deeply appreciated.
On November 26th, the choir joyfully celebrated our Slava, St. John Chrysostom, with dedicated choir member, Dr. Rista Urukalo-Kontić, as honoured Kuma. We fondly remember those dear members who reposed in the Lord. May their memory be eternal. The choir is grateful to Fr. Vladimir Vranić for the beautiful service and kind words and to those Church members and parishioners who celebrated with us.
SSS Gračanica was honoured to be asked to sing for the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County on December 2nd as they surprised their staff with dinner and performances. Actively involved in education and community engagement as well as the promotion of all cultures, the choir wished the MCC continued success and many more years!
The choir was thrilled to be invited to perform, once again, at Bright Lights Windsor on December 3rd. Many thanks are extended to members of our Church community for taking the time to join us as we sang Serbian Christmas carols in an hour-long outdoor concert. It was exciting to see everyone cheering us on! We are most definitely grateful to the choir members for braving the cold. Afterwards, we strolled through beautiful Jackson Park which was filled with thousands of lights and stunning displays.
On December 11th, the choir celebrated the joy of the Christmas season with a concert, “Christmas with the Community – Reflections of Christ’s Nativity”. The rich colour, extraordinary iconography, and beauty of Gračanica Church in the evening fills one with peace while listening to the sounds of traditional Christmas carols. The program began with the emcee, Dr. Rista Urukalo-Kontić welcoming the Romanian, Serbian and Windsor communities. Gračanica Church School Junior Choir directed by Miss Milena Stevanov wonderfully sang Tiha Noć and Slavite Gospoda with the older singers singing in two-part harmony. It’s always such a pleasure to see the youth dressed up and filling the church with their vitality. “Armonia” Choir of St. George & St. Andrei Saguna Romanian Cathedral directed by Ms. Daniela Burghelea Gheorghiu sang six exquisite carols: Ziurel de ziuă, Leru-i, Doamne Ler, Legănelul lui Isus, Cel făr de-nceput, Trei Crai de la Răsarit, Toată obștea creștinească. They left the audience in awe of their angelic voices. SSS Gračanica directed by Dr. Rista Urukalo-Kontić delightfully sang Likuj Dnes, Prevječni, Jegda Pride Konec Vjeka and Slava Vo Višnjih Bogu. The evening concluded with a mass choir, Armonia and SSS Gračanica, directed by Daniela Burghelea Gheorghiu, singing O Come All Ye Faithful, O Da Divne Vesti (as a quartet) and O, Ce Veste Minunată. Director Daniela creatively arranged the last carol O, Ce Veste Minunată which was sung in Romanian and Serbian - a challenge for both choirs. Guests received a program which translated Romanian and Serbian carols into English for all to understand the stories of nativity spreading the joy of Christ’s birth. Thanks was extended to Fr Dragos Giulea from the Romanian Orthodox Church and Fr. Vladimir Vranić from Gračanica Church for their unwavering support and prayers. Words cannot express how magnificent and spiritually uplifting it was to see Gračanica Church filled with the faithful listening to traditional Orthodox Christmas carols and afterwards greeting one another in the Church Lower Hall. Lenten foods and refreshments were served to guests. The Choirs thank all who attended this spectacular and inspirational evening filling the season with cheer!
As SSS Gračanica looks to the future, we are ecstatic to announce that we have been awarded the 2024 Serbian Singing Federation Choral Festival to be held on May 24 – 26th. Mark your 2024 calendar and make the trip to Windsor for this remarkable event! In addition, we will be celebrating our 75th Anniversary in 2024! This will be an extraordinary year for our choir, and we warmly welcome all.
Whether volunteering for various community events, supporting our Church and Serbian community organizations physically, monetarily or by sharing social media posts or emails, let’s strengthen our bonds, inspire one another, and build upon the legacy of those before us!
May God’s Blessings of good health and wellbeing be with all of you and your families throughout this Christmas season and into the New Year! Hristos se Rodi! Christ is Born!
Srečan Božić i Sretna Nova Godina! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Nadia (Chuk) Moscardelli
SSS Gračanica, Windsor, ON