Holiday concert brings cultures together

On Sunday, Dec. 11, Mercyhurst’s Christ the King Chapel was filled to capacity with students and community members alike, eagerly waiting to hear the collaborative effort of two separate choirs.

Both of these choirs are very special in their own respects—one was Mercyhurst’s Concert Choir conducted by

Rebecca Ryan and made up of the students of the D’Angelo School of Music.
The other was the Choir of the Church of Christ Savior, conducted by Vladimir Gidenko, who originates from Russia.

When asked what it was like to work with a Russian choir, sophomore Marisa Jacobson said, “It was a pleasure to work with a different culture. The other choir was so excited and thankful to sing with us.

“Their sincerity really brought out the holiday spirit in myself,” she said.

The concert commenced with the conjoined choirs singing G.B Pergolesi’s “Magnificat,” a piece entirely in Latin.
This piece featured four extremely talented Mercyhurst students as soloists.

The second movement, “Et Misericordia Ejus” (And His Mercy is Upon Them) featured soprano Alexa Zeremenko and mezzo Marie Karbacka with a powerful end to the piece.

Tenor Adam Ferrari and bass Eric Delagrange were highlighted in the fourth movement of the piece “Suscepit Israel” (He Hath Helped Israel).

Directly following was the performance of selections of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “The All-Night Vigil,” which is performed completely in Russian.

It was during this piece that the Russian choir really came to the rescue; Vladimir devoted hours of his personal time to help perfect the Russian pronunciation for the Mercyhurst Concert Choir.

When asked about her reaction to the Rachmaninoff pieces, sophomore Kelsey Meacham responded, “As I was walking down the hall of Old Main, I heard an echo of voices coming from the chapel.

“Chills ran down my spine, it was so beautiful,” she said.

At this point in the concert, the Mercyhurst Choir stepped back and listened to the Russian Choir sing two pieces; “Carol of the Bells,” beautifully adapted into Ukrainian and “Glory to God in the Highest” by Bortnyansky.

After these, the Concert Choir joined the Russian Choir once again to sing a small selection of Ukrainian Folk Carols.

The concert ended with a selection of popular carols that the audience was able to join in singing with those on stage.

When asked about his experience performing in the concert, junior Adam Ferrari responded, “I really valued the experience of working with the Russian Choir. It added something special to the whole experience.

“It also goes to prove that music is a universal language.

“Two completely different groups of people with different native languages, coming together to give a musical performance—an experience I hope to have again soon,” he said.