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Music Week

Week 3 , Music Week 2019:  

Sunday, July 14 – Saturday, July 20

Music Week is for campers age 7-13.

Program Leaders Father David Cowan and Matushka Tamara.

Fr. David Cowan

Father David Cowan grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, obsessed with music from his early childhood. Learning his first guitar chords on a children’s sized guitar rescued from a Dumpster by his parents, he also studied piano, violin, and percussion through high school. He met his future wife, Matushka Tamara, at the Alaska Fine Arts Camp for high school music students.

He studied Percussion Performance at the University of Michigan School of Music, then completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Recording at the University of Southern California. During his college years in California, Father first began regularly attending and singing at Orthodox services with Matushka Tamara, who also studied at USC. He was chrismated and they were married in 1992. Father served as a parish choir director for five years, first in California and then in Maryland, where the couple moved in 2001. He led the choir of St. Mark’s Church, Bethesda, MD, in singing the responses at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy for Orthodox Education Day at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in 2003.

The possibility of going to seminary, which Fr. David had considered for a few years, grew more real with the move East. Deciding that he ought to put himself where God could best use him, he left his position as speechwriter for a large non-profit organization in the Washington, DC area, and entered St. Tikhon’s Seminary in 2004. At St. Tikhon’s he was blessed to continue his training in liturgical singing and directing with Prof. Aleksei Shipovalnikov. Fr. David regularly directed the Seminary Choir for liturgical services in St. Tikhon’s Monastery Church, traveled with the St. Tikhon’s Mission Choir, and sang on the CD entitled Sing Praises to Our God, released by the Seminary Choir in 2007. At the request of His Beatitude, Metropolitan HERMAN, Father David assembled and directed the mixed choir that sang the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the St. Tikhon’s Memorial Day Pilgrimage in 2008.

Father David was ordained to the Diaconate in February 2006 and to the Priesthood in December 2006. He was pastor of All Saints Church, Olyphant, PA, from 2007 until January, 2012, when he was assigned as Rector of Holy Trinity Church, Yonkers, NY, and Secretary to His Eminence, Archbishop Michael. He lectured on “Teaching Church School Children to Sing” at the Diocesan Christian Education Conference for the New York City Deanery in 2014. Archbishop Michael appointed Fr. David Vice-Chancellor of the Diocese in November, 2014.

Together with Matushka Tamara, Fr. David’s proudest musical accomplishment is their son Gabriel, 8, who has not only a musical ear and (in their admittedly biased opinion) a beautiful singing voice, but also an uncanny knack for spontaneously creating songs, with melodies sophisticated beyond his years, that vividly depict the heroic adventures of policemen, soldiers, knights, semi truck drivers … and, occasionally, even members of the clergy.

Matushka Tamara

Matushka Tamara Cowan is the wife of Fr. David Cowan, Vice-Chancellor  of the Diocese and Rector of Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers.  Matushka Tamara grew up in Anchorage, Alaska in the mission parish of her father, Archpriest Nicholas Molodyko-Harris, which grew to be St. Innocent Cathedral.

Her most important musical training was in the Church, formed in the parish choir since infancy, having sung under numerous and outstanding directors in various Orthodox music traditions in Alaska; Los Angeles; Washington, DC; Pennsylvania; and the last three years in New York.
She has a degree in Vocal Arts from the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.  Currently she co-directs the choir of Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers, after teaching voice at St. Tikhon’s Seminary for 7 years to over 60 men preparing for the
diaconate and the priesthood, as well as regularly working with the nuns of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Ellwood City, PA.  She has taught private voice lessons to students of all ages for 15 years, and has performed in and stage-managed numerous musical theatre and  opera productions and workshops.

As an elementary school teacher of 20 years, she has directed youth choirs in Orthodox and Catholic parochial schools, as well as in four OCA parishes, with the goal of keeping kids in love with singing for the Lord.  She established the “Unexpected Joy” Girls
Choir in the Yonkers parish, with the intent to encourage youth to sing in the choir, as well as offering chanters’ workshops for youth to learn liturgical reading.Last year during Horse Week, she & Fr. David taught the Music Elective session culminating in a vocal & instrumental performance with 15 campers.


Music Week is a time for focusing on the basic principles of music (rhythm, melody, harmony, vocal music), group ensemble/singing and performance, and to focus on the ministry of serving the church through the choir.  Musicians of various backgrounds have contributed to the music program, including St. Tikhon’s Seminarian Gabe Monforte, who directed the choir for the full summer at Saint Andrew’s Camp last year, 2011 camp director Fr. Philip Halliwell, and most consistently, Basil Kozak, who has led music week for the past several years.

During music week 2012, a historical moment happened for Saint Andrew’s camp with the writing of a new Saint Andrew’s Camp Song!  Based on Psalm 113: “From the rising to the setting of the sun, the Name of the Lord be praised!” , the lyrics and music capture the spirit of the daily camping program. Campers and volunteers are encouraged to read below for the lyrics and come prepared to camp knowing them!

The tuition for Music Week is $300.  Registration for after April 1 has a fee of $50.  As with all weeks, scholarships are available through an application process.  The scholarship application form, in addition to a completed camp application and registration fee, must be completed in order to be considered for a scholarship.

SAC scholarship info and application

Campers should download the Camper zip file below (contains application and medical forms). Fill out the forms and return them.

Camper Forms revJAN2018-1

You can online register below to start the registration, although the camper forms are also required:

Start Online Camp Registration




Saint Andrew’s Camp Song Lyrics

“From the rising to the setting of the sun, the Name of the Lord be praised!” Psalm 113.3

Fall out of bed then we prepare
Wash your face and brush your hair
Find some clean clothes you can wear
Then we say our morning prayers
Listen for the chapel bell
We chant, we sing, our voices gel
For us and for the world we pray
And thank God for this brand new day

The lake is cool (SAINT ANDREW’S CAMP!)
The sun is hot (SAINT ANDREW’S CAMP!)
We learn and pray (SAINT ANDREW’S CAMP!)
And play a lot (SAINT ANDREW’S CAMP!)
From the rising to the setting of the sun, the Name of the Lord be praised!

Horseback riding, music, sing,
Nature, every living thing
God’s creation all around
The sky, the water, and the ground
We find some time to run around
Swing on swings on the playground
Shoot some hoops and then we get
To play soccer with friends we met


Our counselors are just the best
Sometimes we put them to the test
They watch over us both night and day
And lead us in the proper way
Stan’s the cook he loves to bake
We never know what treats he’ll make
Deb the nurse is always there
To give us extra special care


Evening comes it’s Vespers now
Back to chapel pray and bow
Take down the flag and we get fed
Then campfires, games, and time for bed