“The Yale Russian Chorus has a long history of international touring and cultural exchange. Our participation in the Tbilisi symposium continues that tradition. We hope to make connections with international choruses and invite them to perform with us in the United States.”
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (PRWEB) October 26, 2020
The Yale Russian Chorus, Alumni, and the Kartuli Ensemble are presenting a virtual chorus recording of Shen Khar Venakhi at the 10th Anniversary International Symposium on Traditional Polyphony in Didi Dighomi, Tbilisi, Georgia. The presentation will lead off a program of virtual chorus recordings of Georgian music from around the world. The virtual program was organized because international choruses are currently unable to tour internationally due to COVID-19 travel and performance restrictions.
The Yale Russian Chorus (YRC) is one of the choruses that has been affected by international travel restrictions. Its planned tour of Russia in 2020 had to be postponed due to COVID-19. The YRC’s President, Andrew Scott, said, “Postponing our 2020 European tour was a great disappointment for all of us. A chorus like the YRC thrives on close interaction with our audience, which is not possible currently. Fortunately, participating in the 10th Anniversary Symposium gives us an opportunity to continue our international outreach efforts, in spite of the limitations brought on by the pandemic.” Stepan Sveshnikov, the President of the YRC Alumni Association, said, “The Yale Russian Chorus has a long history of international touring and cultural exchange. Our participation in the Tbilisi symposium continues that tradition. We hope to make connections with international choruses and invite them to perform with us in the United States.”
Carl Linich, a member of the Kartuli Ensemble, Trio Kavkasia, and also founder-director of the NYC-based Supruli Ensemble and the Bard College Georgian Choir, was delighted by the invitation to direct this virtual performance. Shen Khar Venakhi was the first Georgian choral music that the Yale Russian Chorus ever learned—way back in 1968—and from there, Georgian music continued to spread throughout North America. It is Carl's hope that choirs around the globe will continue to sing this and many other Georgian songs, and help keep Georgia's rich cultural heritage alive.
This virtual chorus project brought together singers from around the world. Singers from as far west as Hawaii, as far north as Canada, and as far east as Israel all participated. Although COVID-19 has impeded travel and live performances, it has made long-distance musical collaboration easier.
The YRC Alumni Association’s virtual chorus program is led by Lewis Johnson, a member of the Board of Directors of the YRC Alumni Association and CEO of Alelo, a developer of avatar-based cultural training software for Eastern Europe and over 90 other countries around the world. Dr. Johnson said, “Virtual chorus recording allows us to bring these great songs to a global audience, in spite of the COVID-19 restrictions.” Other virtual recordings by the YRC Alumni Association include the Slavonic chant Blagoslovi Dushe Moya Gospoda and the marching song Borodino.
The YRC Alumni Association is currently raising funds so that it can continue activities through the pandemic and resume international tours and concerts when conditions permit. It is organizing a festival of Eastern European choral music in 2023, to commemorate the founding of the Yale Russian Chorus. International choruses will be invited to attend and submit videos for presentation at the festival.
ABOUT THE YALE RUSSIAN CHORUS AND THE YRC ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
Established in 1953 by Denis Mickiewicz, the Yale Russian Chorus is the oldest singing group in the New World dedicated to the choral music of Eastern Europe. It has toured in Europe over 20 times. The YRC Alumni Association is a not-for-profit organization that supports the YRC’s activities, organizes virtual choruses, concerts, tours, and workshops, and helps sustain the Yale Russian Chorus tradition of choral excellence and cultural exchange.