Friday, March 9, 2012

The Philadelphia Story (Part 2)

The next morning we all sang liturgy in the parish. Since I was staying in the parish house, all I had to do was go downstairs. We sung in the back of the church, which acoustically made better sense; hardly any sound escaped from our original spot last night. Elias D. of Ottawa directed the choir.

I surprised him during a lull in the singing.

All that singing during the past couple of days (plus a sleep deficit) made me a little tired. I plopped down on a bench in the back of the church, next to Tina, one of the narrators in the concert (and a soloist). We talked about the great volume of singing involved this weekend.

“After the singing, there will be more singing,” she said.
“And in between the singing there will be singing,” I answered.
“And after all this singing, there will be much rejoicing.”
“In song!”

I’m the one in black.

We then took a group picture and had a lunch appropriate to Meatfare Sunday: blini. Well, at least one kind was filled with meat.

In between the singing and the singing, a few of us went on a walk through the city. We admired the charming brick architecture of the neighborhood, and we went up to that museum most famous for being in the movie “Rocky.”

Once we got back it was time for the concert. We went to St. Michael’s, the site of the concert, and practiced a little. Then it was time for the concert. The men and women processed into the nave, clad in black. Finally, Nicholas came in and introduced the concert. After the introductory reading, we began singing an arrangement of “Blessed is the Man,” by Trubachev. But words cannot adequately express how the concert went. You’ll have to see it for yourself:

The full recording of the concert, minus some of the readings.

We sang to a full house, who gave us some strong applause in the end. It felt really nice to be a part of such a group of talented people, and I’m not just saying that because most of them will be reading these words.

In the end, there was much rejoicing (in song), and we had something to eat. However, us seminarians had to go to class the next day* so we had to get going. I made my long Russian goodbyes to as many people as I could, and we hit the road, stopping at a Roy Rogers along the way to have our last chance at meat.

It was probably the worst burger I ever had.

I’m very grateful to our hosts at the parish house as well as Fr. Valeriy of the Joy of All Who Sorrow parish. Major thanks go to all my fellow singers in the Youth Choir, especially Alex Cooley and (long-time supporter of this blog) Dimitry Doohovskoy. Also props go to the St. Tikhon’s choir and the Princeton Byzantine chanters for joining us, Suzie for choreographing the choir, and of course Nicky Kotar for pulling it all together.

*I slept in, anyway.

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