Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Three Concerts

In April and May, we went to three concerts:

In late April, we sang at the Russian Consulate in New York City for the 50th anniversary celebration of the emigre literary journal Novy Zhurnal (New Review). On the way to NYC we passed through East Durham, the most Irish place I’ve ever passed through, where we stopped and had lunch at a Western Steakhouse with a shamrock on the sign. The concert was all right (I survived), we had a nice reception at the consulate with a nightcap later on with one of the deacons at Synod. We stayed (like last time) in the Synodal conference room.

About a week later, we sang at the Russian Icon Museum in Clinton, Massachusetts. The museum was built to house the vast icon collection (he largest in North America) of one man, the chairman of a billion-dollar plastic molding corporation. The venue was nice and had decent acoustics. I liked the audience, who were mostly American, since they responded well to each of our pieces. Several of them were even members of the Church. Two of them, a man and wife, came up to a couple of us after a concert and expressed their disappointment that we didn’t sing “Христосъ Воскресе” at the end of the concert. So the three of us obliged, singing the Paschal Hymn in the café, Jordanville style.

The latest concert we sang was on Ascension Day, in Cambridge. It was a somewhat rushed feeling, as that morning we had just been at liturgy and all. However, it was still pretty fun since we were singing as part of the Rachmaninoff Music Festival going on that week. We went to the First Church in Cambridge (as opposed to the First Parish in Cambridge), a congregationalist church with very nice and traditional architecture. We rehearsed in the hallway of the church hall, where I looked at some of the proclamations of their church against dogma and rules as well as the pastor’s sermons, which seemed to reduce the gospel to left-wing politics. At least the acoustics were nice. We had a nice set. After we finished a choir from Moscow called Elegia sang a nice mix of sacred and folk music. I liked the choir, but I was somewhat amused by their dress and performance. The women wore aquamarine shawls and the men wore aquamarine ties. And when they sang, they didn’t stand still, but swayed from side to side enraptured in emotion. It had the effect of a giant sea anemone on the stage. No offense.

And thus our performing season has ended for the year. We will, however, unite again in August in San Francisco for a special performance. Stay tuned!

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