Yale Russian Chorus International Tour Goes Virtual with Recording Series that Culminates in Multi-Chorus, International Live-Streamed Event

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The Yale Russian Chorus (YRC) and Alumni have released a new virtual recording of the popular Russian song Kon’ dedicated to everyone in Russia and America who have suffered and endured hardships due to the COVID-19. They have also announced that their virtual chorus series will culminate in an international live-streamed event including multiple choruses on multiple continents.

This live-streamed event is an opportunity to bring choruses and audiences from around the world together. It is one of the unexpected benefits that have resulted from this difficult pandemic period.

In response to pandemic-related restrictions on international concert tours, the Yale Russian Chorus (YRC) and Alumni have released a new virtual recording of the popular Russian song Kon’ dedicated to everyone in Russia and America who have suffered and endured hardships in due to the COVID-19. They have also announced that their virtual chorus series will culminate in an international live-streamed event including multiple choruses on multiple continents. This will enable the participating choruses to engage with an international audience in spite of travel restrictions.

The Yale Russian Chorus is one of the choruses that has been greatly affected by international travel restrictions. Its planned tour of Russia in 2020 had to be postponed to 2022 due to COVID-19. The YRC’s President, Andrew Scott, said, “The pandemic represents a challenge that the Chorus has never faced before—we’ve been unable to sing together, in-person, for well over a year. We have been working on a number of virtual projects to ensure we stay connected with our international audience, despite the difficulties we face.”

In October 2020 the YRC, Alumni, and the Kartuli Ensemble presented a virtual chorus recording of Shen Khar Venakhi at the 10th Anniversary International Symposium on Traditional Polyphony in Didi Dighomi, Tbilisi, Georgia. The presentation led off a program of virtual chorus recordings of Georgian music from around the world. Participation in the program strengthened connections between the YRC and other international choruses, which the YRC continues to build on during the pandemic.

As a further effort to engage with its international audience, the YRC and Alumni have now released a virtual recording of the song Kon’ on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Music. Kon’, which means “horse” in Russian, is a very popular quasi-folk song that tells the story of a man who, along with his faithful companion, his horse, crosses fields of flax and rye at night. During his journey he is struck by the profound natural beauty of the landscape, and it fills him with a deep love for his Motherland, and also with a sense of hope, that in spite of current troubles better days are ahead. Stepan Sveshnikov, the President of the YRC Alumni Association and conductor of the song, said, “Our performances of Kon’ often bring audiences to tears, and during our most recent tour to Russia in 2019 this song received standing ovations. I think that speaks to the beauty of the music, but also to a message of hope and overcoming that is both universal and uplifting. I think it’s a perfect song for this time, when we’re trying to finally put COVID behind us; the feeling embodied in the lyrics is exactly what we need to hear: “there will be a new harvest, everything has been, and all shall pass away…”

The YRC has announced that its pandemic virtual program will conclude in late 2021 with a live-streamed concert of Russian and Georgian music, performed by choruses from across the New World. Participating choruses will include Slavyanka Russian Chorus (San Francisco), Darbazi (Toronto), Gorani (Melbourne), and Bard Georgian Choir (Hudson Valley, NY). Lewis Johnson, Media Coordinator of the YRC Alumni Association and director of its virtual chorus program, said, “This live-streamed event is an opportunity to bring choruses and audiences from around the world together. It is one of the unexpected benefits that have resulted from this difficult pandemic period.”

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.

Video: https://youtu.be/D8YBhEs2mLo

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