June 2, 2012 Boston, MA:
2nd International Rachmaninoff Russian Music Festival
order to hear real Russian music, sometimes you need to travel to
America. On Sunday, May 27, Russian music enthusiasts had an
opportunity to attend a spiritual music festival "Russia’s Musical
in Boston, MA.
The Rachmaninoff Festival Choir of America (RFCA), a collection of
about sixty church musicians from throughout North America, gathered
in Boston on Memorial Day Weekend, 2012, for the culmination of the
2nd International Rachmaninoff Russian Music Festival: a Gala
Concert at the New England Conservatory’s famed Jordan Hall.
The concert featured many prominent vocalists, the instrumental
ensemble Juventas plus a Festival Orchestra that included church
bells on loan from the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church (Bulgarian
Patriarchate in Allston, MA), and a glorious 95-voice Russian choir,
combining RFCA and 30 singers from the visiting Moscow chorus,
The choir’s performance was the final event of an eight-performance
series of musical offerings in greater Boston from May 20-27,
including an operatic production, instrumental recitals, and a
choral concert featuring Elegia and quintet from Holy Trinity
Seminary in Jordanville, NY.
The Rachmaninoff Choir was founded with the goal of uniting singers
from across the Russian Diaspora in North America, and preserving
its spiritual and music heritage. About 60 singers of various
ethnicities, ages, and level of musical talent participate in the
choir: among their number are no fewer than 15 choir directors, and
well as youth, students, and choral enthusiasts from across America.
They are all united by vocal talent, marvelous voices, and their
unconditional love for Russian spiritual music, the singing of which
requires them to regularly put aside other cares and fly to
rehearsals, that together they might create something wonderful.
singers arrived in Boston by Friday, May 25, and, prior to the
concert on Sunday evening, participated in two intensive rehearsals.
The program included Maxim Berezovsky’s sacred cantata "Turn Not
Away from Me in My Old Age," the difficult "Blessed art Thou, O
Lord" section from Sergei Rachmaninoff’s beloved
Vigil, several folk songs and other
works, and two pieces for chorus and orchestra: Rachmaninoff’s
"Three Russian Songs" and the finale, "Glory, Rus’," from Mikhail
A Life for the Tsar.
In addition to the concert, several of the singers agreed to sing at
the Sunday services in
St. John the Wonderworker parish in
Framingham. Under the direction of Synodal choir director Peter
Fekula and his son Adrian, guest singers Christina Burbelo, Irene
Gan, Rostislav Gan, Ksenia Kurtow, Elizabeth Ledkovsky, Alexis and
Katherine Lukianov, and Irina Papkova joined a few local choir
members at the evening and morning services.
On Saturday evening, Archpriest Andre
Papkov (dean of Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Chicago, IL) led
the Vigil, co-served by the rector, Archpriest Yaroslav Belikow, and
Protodeacon Vadim Gan (cleric of Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in
Chicago). The following morning, the Divine Liturgy, celebrated by
Fr. Yaroslav, co-served by the Protodeacon, was adorned by the
After both services, in gratitude for their
marvelous singing, the sisterhood, headed by Matushka Larissa
Belikow, invited the guests to a festal luncheon.
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