The Russian Orthodox Male Choir of Australia and the Tsar Nicholas II Choir merged together to perform as the ROCOR Mens Choir in three different church halls around the New York City area from December 19th thru December 22nd 2019. As a major sponsor of these events, PaTRAM Institute was proud to help these dedicated and driven individuals in their first public performances as a combined choir.
The project was not an easy effort. The two choirs had to overcome major financial and logistical issues to become a combined, in-sync collective of choristers. Nektary Kotlaroff, who leads the Russian Orthodox Male Choir of Australia, and Adrian Fekula, who directs the Tsar Nicholas II Choir in New York, planned for months to bring this effort to fruition. With help from PaTRAM as well as several other sources, the two conductors were able to connect with each other from half a world away. As a result of their tremendous efforts, the two choirs sounded as though they had sung together for months when in fact they only had a handful of live rehearsals together.
The concert repertoire consisted of both sacred and secular music, which they performed with great enthusiasm and skill. From the beautiful sound of Chesnokov’s and Tchaikovsky’s liturgical masterpieces to the legendary folk song, Volga Boatmen, approximately half the program was devoted to each of the two music genres.
On Thursday, December 19th, coinciding with the Feast Day of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the ROCOR Mens Choir performed their program at the Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin & St. Sergius in Glen Cover, Long Island.
Friday, December 20th, saw the Choir move their performance to the Holy Virgin Protection Church in Nyack, NY. Those who attended were treated to a wonderful performance, which was received with great enthusiasm.
On Saturday, December 21st, the Choir sang the All-Night Vigil services at Synod Cathedral of the Sign Church in Manhattan, officiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia) and His Grace Bishop Nicholas (of Manhattan and Vicar Bishop of the Diocese of Eastern America and New York). Following the service, the choir was invited by PaTRAM Chairman, Alex Lukianov, to his private club, the Grand Havana, on 5th Avenue midtown. The group celebrated the tour, and the Choir sang “Many Years” to Alex and his wife Katya for all their help and support.
Sunday, December 22nd, saw the culmination of the short tour by the ROCOR Mens Choir beginning with their singing the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, officiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion and His Grace Bishop Nicholas. The service was followed by a wonderful Lenten meal provided by the Parish’s Sisterhood. After lunch, all were welcomed back into the main Cathedral to listen to the Choir perform their sacred music pieces for the attending Hierarchs and a large numbers of listeners. The day concluded with all in attendance welcomed back to the Church hall for wine, soft drinks and snacks along with big helping of folk songs, sung with great exuberance by the ROCOR Combined Mens Choir as the standing-room only crowd inspired them with traditional hand-clapping and whistling to the boisterous folk songs.