Soroka retiring as cathedral choir director
It was fitting that a half century ago a young Donora priest would organize and become director of the Cathedral Choir of the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania.
Father Igor Soroka was born into a musical family.
His father, the late Rt. Rev. Gregory Soroka, came to the United States from Russia to work as a choir director.
He met his future wife, Anastasia, when she was singing alto in the choir he was directing in Scranton.
Gregory enrolled in the Russian Orthodox Seminary in Minneapolis, Minn., and then came back to Scranton and proposed to Anastasia.
They had seven children and three of the four sons, Igor, Leonid and Vladimir, also became priests – with exceptional musical talents. Each has written music.
Father Gregory served as pastor of Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church in Charleroi for over 35 years.
Igor met his late wife, Irene, while he was directing a choir in Detroit, Mich. She also sang alto.
Igor studied at St. Tikhon Seminary and Duquesne University. After his ordination, he and Irene came to Donora to make their home.
Very Rev. Igor Soroka is still serving at his first assignment, St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Donora, now in his 54th year.
As for his directing the Cathedral Choir for 50 years, Father Soroka said: “It is time to retire.”
He made the announcement at the December choir meeting in Canonsburg. All his services had been donated.
His parishioners are happy he isn't retiring from the church.
Dr. Dimitri Petro, choir director at St. Nicholas for almost 50 years, has been closely associated with the priest and the music.
He related an incident when the two were attending an All-America Council meeting in New York City.
On a free evening a group of members, including Father Igor and his brother, Father Vladimir, went to a little Russian restaurant.
“There was balalaika music and we started singing with them,” Petro said.
“Father Igor and his brother had exceptional voices and Father Igor even had a solo part.”
Petro said the musicians' director stated: “You don't belong here. You belong down the street at the Metropolitan Opera!”
The Cathedral Choir is composed of a capella singers from all walks of life: doctors, lawyers, clergy, teachers, nurses, office workers, as well as homemakers and retirees.
The Metropolitan Choir, in addition to numerous performances, has presented concerts at Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh and appeared with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony.
A Millenium concert in celebration of 1000 years of Christianity In Russia was presented at the University of Pittsburgh in 1988.
They have made six recordings under the direction of Father Igor. The CDs include “In Concert”, “The Divine Liturgy,” and the latest, “The Psalms in Melody and Songs.”
For this latter production, the 50th anniversary one, the director said they called on some retirees and former members to fill the choir with 35 voices.
“Some pieces are sung in eight parts and extra voices were needed,” Father Igor said.
Emma Jene Lelik is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- No need to eat alone on Thanksgiving in Mon Valley
- Accounting career adds up for Fallowfield native
- Spending dispute emerges in Monessen
- Mon Valley Hose and Fitting opens
- 18th annual ‘Chow-Chow’ luncheon set in Rostraver
- Monongahela Valley Hospital celebrates annual Light-Up Night
- Monongahela River boat rental business could spur economic growth, coalition told
- Fallowfield considers various options about local police protection
- Two-mill tax hike proposed in Monongahela
- West Brownsville mother, daughter collaborate on children’s tale