For more than thirty years now, Diana Kodner Gökçe’s Handbook for Cantors has been “the” book on the ministry of the cantor, used for countless workshops and classes around the country, and by many of the ministers who lead the sung prayer of the community every week. Literally as I write this, Handbook for Cantors, Third Edition has just come off the presses, and it’s absolutely wonderful.

So is Diana, by the way. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her at Old St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago for First Communion and Confirmation liturgies, and in addition to being an authority on cantoring she is also a tremendous flutist and just an all-around stellar musician. And working with her on this book was a great journey—we fell into writer-editor work together as easily as we did making music the first time, and it was a pleasure. In addition to reworking and updating the material from the previous edition, Diana also added extensive supplemental material for the singing priest and deacon, to help them become more comfortable with their own singing and chanting in the liturgy–so this book isn’t just for your cantors, it’s also for your priest who is a little nervous about chanting or your new deacon who’s looking at the Exsultet with a small amount of terror. (And let’s face it, didn’t we all greet the Exsultet the first time with a little trepidation?)

In this podcast episode, Diana and I sat down together, and when we started we intended to have a conversation about the book itself–but as is often the case when we start talking, we went pretty far afield and talked about vocal technique, educational theories, The Voice and other reality-music shows, the changing male voice, and various other topics in addition to the ministry of the cantor. The flow makes sense in context, don’t worry.

So check out the book, and enjoy the podcast!



Handbook for Cantors, Third Edition, by Diana Kodner Gökçe, G-9561.

Magnificat, by Lori True, G-6714, Recorded on As Morning Breaks and Evening Sets, CD-609

SingAmen! the Podcast, with Jennifer Kerr Budziak
Sound by Jim Bogdanich

SingAmen! opening music: Promenade, by Bob Moore (from Let Every Instrument Be Tuned for Praise, CD-491, from Liturgical Suite #4, G-4789.. ©GIA Publications, Inc).
SingAmen! closing music: Amen, (from More Sublime Chant, CD-459, The Cathedral Singers, Richard Proulx, conductor. ©GIA Publications, Inc.)