This Saturday, the Yale Russian Chorus will take part in a digital symposium alongside YRC alumni and the Kartuli Ensemble, a gaggle that performs Georgian music.
The ensemble’s recorded efficiency is a part of the tenth Anniversary Worldwide Symposium on Conventional Polyphony, a Georgian music symposium hosted in Tbilisi, Georgia. The symposium will function Georgian music performances from choral teams all all over the world. The YRC and its alumni will carry out the mantra “Shen Khar Venakhi” — which interprets to “You’re a Winery” — alongside the Kartuli Ensemble.
“Shortly after the pandemic hit, we noticed that it was not going to be attainable to do dwell performances anymore,” stated Lewis Johnson GRD ’85, a member of the YRC Alumni Affiliation Board of Administrators. “So, digital refrain recordings appeared like a great way for the group to maintain singing and produce recordings we may use to interact with a world viewers.”
YRC members have a particular historical past with “Shen Khar Venakhi,” the tune they selected to carry out on the symposium. Johnson stated that many YRC members sing this tune collectively at their weddings. Additionally it is the primary Gerogian tune YRC ever realized.
Based on Johnson, the Russian refrain was uncovered to Georgian music by “sort of an accident.” When the group was on tour in Budapest in 1968, they “stumbled upon” a Georgian refrain training of their resort.
“Subsequent factor we knew, we had been all invited to affix in, and the director of the refrain provided to show us some Georgian songs,” Johnson stated. “So this type of brings us full circle in a manner, to current this tune again in Georgia in spite of everything these years.”
YRC President Andrew Scott ’23 defined that when the Soviet Union banned most liturgical music from being sung, “Shen Khar Venakhi” may nonetheless be sung as a result of it doesn’t reference any non secular figures by title. Due to this, it grew to become a necessary a part of the YRC’s repertoire and was usually sung on excursions YRC took within the Soviet Union.
“Whereas liturgical music is now not banned within the former Soviet republics, we nonetheless sing this tune for its magnificence and use as a logo of resistance,” Scott stated.
The YRC usually holds its alumni live performance in October and goes on tour within the winter or spring. The group initially deliberate to tour Russia this previous summer time, however the pandemic rendered that unattainable.
Nonetheless, Johnson stated the lockdown led to a number of advantages. For instance, he organized a workshop led by Carl Linich, a member of the Kartuli ensemble who directed the digital efficiency. Within the workshop, YRC members and alumni practiced pronunciation and improved their understanding of the piece.
One other profit was that as a result of singers didn’t should be in the identical bodily room, alumni from the world over may take part. For the ultimate product, an editor compiled recordings of the singers’ particular person efficiency into one video.
The YRC’s Alumni Affiliation can also be independently energetic and conducts its personal excursions. In the course of the pandemic, they recorded digital performances of the Slavonic chant “Blagoslovi Dushe Moya Gospoda” and the marching tune “Borodino.”
Scott stated that the YRC could be very shut with its alumni community.
“Alumni of all ages like to work together with us, sing with us and inform us tales of rowdy concert events and gatherings relationship again to the refrain’ founding in 1953,” stated Scott. “These interactions are considered one of my favourite components of being a refrain member.”
The YRC was based in 1953 firstly of the Chilly Warfare. It has been working to foster cultural connections between Russia and america ever since. In 1958, the YRC was the primary American ensemble to carry out within the Soviet Union on a non-public initiative.
“In Russia, they had been making an attempt to point out that America was a spot of spiritual freedom and political freedom and tolerance,” stated Stephan Sveshnikov ’18, president of the YRC Alumni Affiliation. “Coming again [to the United States], they had been making an attempt to point out a barely much less destructive image of Russia and the Soviet bloc.”
Sveshnikov added that in touring Russia in recent times, the YRC has found the worth of bridging gaps between cultures even with out sharing a language and the facility of music to strengthen connections.
This efficiency additionally serves as a stepping stone for the YRC’s future objectives, which embrace placing collectively a Slavic and Japanese European choral pageant to commemorate their seventieth anniversary in 2023. YRC plans to ask different choruses from the symposium to carry out dwell or submit a recorded efficiency.
“The digital world is nice in that respect, as a result of it means that you can ignore geographical boundaries,” Sveshnikov stated. “What I’d actually hope is that that is the start of a collaboration that can span a few years. After which, years from now, nonetheless having that connection, perhaps we’ll make it a precedence to go to Georgia once more.”
The YRC has carried out on the White Home and the Russian Consulate.
Marisol Carty | email@example.com