The Mercyhurst University Concert Choir will combine with nearly 100 singers to perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil.
Mercyhurst students and faculty, along with the Chautauqua Singers, members of the Church of Christ the Savior Choir and the Erie Renaissance Singers will perform this collection of 15 prayers, hymns and songs.
Mezzo soprano Ainsley Ryan and tenor Brandon Miller will both be soloists. Bass Christopher Dolanc, Ph.D., the school’s botanist and assistant professor of Biology, is one of the faculty members that will be performing as well.
The entire collection is sung in Church Slavonic, which is the language of the Russian Orthodox Church.
At first they did not allow instruments into services.
The All-Night Vigil first premiered in 1915, after Rachmaninoff composed it in less than two weeks.
The first performance took place on March 10, 1915, to benefit the Russian War effort.
The 15 parts are three types of chants—znamenny, Greek and Kiev.
Znamenny chants are written with symbols instead of notes.
The total run time is roughly 75 minutes.
Conducting duties will be shared by Vladimir Gidenko, director of the Church of Christ the Savior Choir, Rebecca Ryan, director of the Mercyhurst Concert Choir and Andrija Andjelic.
Andjelic graduated from Mercyhurst in 2015 and now studies at Duquesne University.
“The extreme beauty and heavenly quality of this major choral work require only the human voice. It is entirely a cappella,” Ryan said.
This will be the final event for the 2015-2016 school year.
The concert will take place on Sunday, May 15, at 7 p.m. at the St. Peter’s Cathedral on 10th and Sassafras.
Tickets at the St. Peter’s Cathedral are free, and the concert is open to the public.