Gracanica Community Festival 2024

Serbian Singing Society Gračanica

Join us in song every Monday, at the Serbian Centre Kosovo Hall (entrance through main hall), for choir practice 6pm – 8pm and every Sunday, in the Gracanica Church choir loft, for Divine Liturgy 10am. Please refer to the calendar for up to date schedules or speak with a choir member.

We warmly welcome you to our church choir as we prayerfully sing hymns in a cappella harmony in our beautiful Gračanica Church. Our main focus as a church choir is learning and singing liturgical music although secular pieces by Serbian composers are sung as well. As a choir member, your active participation singing responses using your God-given talent during Divine Liturgy and other services throughout the Ecclesiastical year is a sacred responsibility. We sing in Serbian, Old Slavonic and English and no previous choral experience is necessary, however, attendance at choir practice is required. Your commitment and willingness to learn is beyond measure. All are welcome to join this group of faithful parishioners! Ko peva, zlo ne misli.

Additionally, we are available to sing at weddings, memorials, funeral homes and christenings. Contact our Parish Priest, V. Rev. Fr. Vladimir Vranic for further information.

Our Mission

In the belief that Serbian music (both religious and secular) has enriched the Canadian culture and since the Serbian Orthodox Church, under the leadership of the Mother Church, has fostered these musical endeavours, we have set forth as our purpose, the continued advancement of the Serbian Canadian culture and the further enrichment of Orthodoxy. This Society is a chartered member of the Serbian Singing Federation of America and Canada and as such is obliged to carry out all its duties and obligations in accordance with the said by-laws of the Serbian Singing Federation.

Our History

In 1945, a group of young Serbs organized the first Serbian Youth Club of Windsor. These young people held meetings at the Serbian Hall on Drouillard Road in hopes of preserving their religion, culture and traditions. Their purpose was to unite the Serbian youth in Windsor, promote educational endeavours, organize athletic and recreational activities and assist the Serbian Orthodox congregation. 

This close knit group of friends supported one another through good times and bad. They laughed together, they cried together, they sang songs, danced kolos and through it all promoted their Serbian heritage. Srbadija, as this group was known, spent many evenings and weekends in that little hall. On Sundays, the little hall was transformed into a church; a portable iconostasis and temporary altar were set up in front of the stage while the hall itself became the nave of the church. Father Djuro Vuckovic approached this circle of friends with a request for them to sing responses in church. They gladly accepted this honour and began informal rehearsals. It was not until the spring of 1949 that the Serbian Singing Society Gračanica (S.S.S. Gračanica) formed under the directorship of Nada Alaica.

The S.S.S. Gračanica had its first choir rehearsal in the basement of Pero’s Hotel on Wyandotte Street, owned by Mr. Pero Bulat, as the Serbian Hall on Drouillard Road had no piano. The choir also practiced at the Martin House on Langlois Street owned by the Mrksich Family. Many S.S.S. Ravanica members from Detroit, Michigan came over to Windsor bringing music and lending their voices to help support the new choir in its endeavours. 

Since 1945, S.S.S. Gračanica continues to sing responses in church every Sunday and special holidays. The Choir traditionally performs at the Annual S.S.F. Festival, and has hosted a number of Festivals, Choral Workshops and Conventions in the past. In addition the choir travels to other Serbian communities to perform as guests at their Concerts. Also, S.S.S. Gračanica hosts an Annual Fall concert with a Serbian Choir from another colony performing as guest choir with appearances by our neighbours S.S.S. Ravanica from Detroit.

Our Slava

St. John Chrysostom (The Golden-Mouthed Patriarch of Constantinople) 

St. John Chrysostom served as archbishop of Constantinople. He was known for his preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, ascetic sensibilities and his Divine Liturgy. His legacy lives on today inspiring many musical compositions for the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

In 1984, the choir established its slava and chose St. John Chrysostom as its patron saint, celebrated on November 26th. It was befitting since the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is the most celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine Rite. In honour of this first slava, Lily Ciganović and Djuro Kosanović were chosen to be the first kumovi as they held the longest membership, which was at that time 32 years each. 

Troparion of St. John Chrysostom

The grace of thy lips, shining forth like a beacon fire, hath illumined the universe, and have bestowed upon the world the treasure of non-avariciousness, and hath shown us the height of humility. But as thou did instruct us with thy words, O father John Chrysostom, so also intercede thou before Christ God, the Word, that our souls may be saved. 

Kontakion of St. John Chrysostom

You received divine grace from Heaven, and by your lips you teach all men to worship the one God in Trinity, O most blessed Venerable John Chrysostom. We praise you, as is meet, for you are a guide, making divine things clear.

Where We’ve Traveled

  • Ontario – Hamilton, Kitchener, Niagara Falls, Toronto
  • Quebec – Montreal
  • Arizona – Phoenix
  • California – San Diego
  • Illinois – North Chicago, South Chicago
  • Indiana – Gary, Merrillville, Schererville, South Bend 
  • Kansas – Kansas City
  • Michigan – Detroit
  • Missouri – St. Louis
  • Nebraska – Omaha
  • New York – Lackawanna
  • Ohio – Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Joliet, Lorraine, Steubenville
  • Pennsylvania – Aliquippa, Johnstown, Midland,  Monroeville, Pittsburgh, Wilmerding
  • Wisconsin – Milwaukee

What We’ve Hosted

  • 3rd Canadian Festival in 1958
  • 20th S.S.F. Convention in 1961
  • 6th S.S.F. Choral Workshop in 1975
  • 47th S.S.S. Convention in 1988
  • 50th S.S.F. Festival in 1991
  • 57th S.S.F. Festival in 1998
  • 58th S.S.F. Convention in 1999
  • 39th S.S.F. Choral Workshop in 2007
  • Numerous Spring and Fall concerts
  • Numerous Night in Belgrade dinner-dances

Community Service – Present

  • Contribute financially to Gračanica Church
  • Contribute financially to the S.S.F. Scholarship Fund for students in choirs
  • Entertain seniors at nursing homes
  • Contribute to The Downtown Mission of Windsor
  • Volunteer for Carrousel of Nations
  • Volunteer for Sljivofest
  • Volunteer at annual Veterans luncheons on Remembrance Day
  • Sing at Bright Lights Windsor

Community Service – Past

  • Sang for the Multicultural Council of Windsor-Essex
  • Contributed to the Toys for Sparky’s Toy Drive
  • Contributed to food/can drives
  • Contributed financially to Children’s Village to naming of Serbian Way
  • Contributed to Cancer Centre
  • Volunteered at The Downtown Mission of Windsor
  • Joined with Windsor Choral Community Choir for a performance at the former Cleary Auditorium
  • Financially supported the Bozana Manojlovich scholarship at the University of Windsor
  • Performed at Carrousel of Nations
  • Helped immigrants settling in Windsor-Essex
  • Hosted fashion shows featuring local businesses

Serbian Singing Federation of USA and Canada Executive Positions Held by our Members

President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Treasurer, Executive Secretary, Audit Board President, Audit Board Member, Audit Board Alternate Member

Students

Would you like to:

  • learn more about your faith and culture
  • add a volunteer position to your resume
  • add community hours for graduation
  • qualify for a scholarship?

Contact Nadia for details!