POTTSTOWN PA – Theoria, a quartet of four professional vocalists, will return Sunday (Dec. 16, 2018) at 4 p.m. to St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church, 301 Cherry St., to perform an a cappella concert of Slavic and other Eastern European Christmas music and Western carols. The concert is free to attend and open to the public.
Convenient, free parking is available in the lot behind the church, which can be accessed via South Street. Handicapped access to the church is available via the South Street entrance. A free will offering will be accepted to help defray the performers’ expenses.
Theoria was founded by Pottstown native Andrew Skitko, who also directs the ensemble. Skitko regularly performs with the Opera Philadelphia chorus, as well as the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir and The Same Stream Choir, which has recorded several albums of new choral music and recently performed in New York.
He recently received a grant from The Eparchy of Passaic to expand the Theoria ensemble and perform as the choir-in-residence at St. Mary’s Byzantine Greek Catholic Church, New York City, as part of a 2019 liturgical concert series.
Skitko is the paid cantor at the Assumption Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church in Trenton, where Theoria frequently performs, and has served as a cantor at St. John’s Church in Pottstown as well as St. Michael’s Byzantine Church in Mont Clare PA.
“We are very excited to return to Pottstown to share this unique music with my hometown community, support Pottstown’s growing arts presence, and again sing in the beautiful setting of St. John’s Byzantine Church,” Skitko said. “Past audiences, which have drawn from Reading, Philadelphia, and other surrounding areas, have been so warm and welcoming.
“This will be our second Christmas concert in Pottstown; the last concert here was in 2016,” he continued. “This space is perfect for a performance of this Slavic music, as St. John’s is known in this area for its distinctive ‘onion dome’ tower, stunning stained glass, and traditional iconography.
The program will feature Carpatho-Rusyn, Ukrainian, and Russian works of composers such as Leontovych, Tchaikovsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov.
Skitko will be joined by vocalists and fellow Westminster Choir College graduates Lauren Delfing, alto; Brett Avery-Lawyer, tenor; and Rebecca Achtenberg, soprano.
Delfing is the music and theater arts teacher at First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School. Avery-Lawyer, also a founding Theoria member, works as an agent for Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty. Achtenberg has been a fellow with the CoOPERAtive program, and has been involved in many premieres of new works.
Photos from Theoria
Background image from Pxhere, used under a Creative Commons license