St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church on Signal Mountain will once again host Lyra, a vocal group from St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday, May 11. An enthusiastic audience greeted their first three appearances at the church in 2006, 2008, and 2010, and by popular request, they are returning as a part of their Spring tour. Writing from their last tour, Eric Mildebrath of St. Cloud, MN, thanked Lyra “for providing a foretaste of what heaven will be like with the angels singing to the glory of God.”
The first half of the concert will consist of Russian sacred music, with narrative explanation of how each selection fits into the Russian liturgy. Among the selections in this part will be Tchesnokov and Arkhangelsky’s settings of “Bless the Lord, O My Soul” (Psalms 103 and 104), and Tachikovsky’s setting of the Lord’s Prayer. The second half of the concert focuses on Russian folk songs and arias from operas by Russian as well as foreign composers.
Lyra’s members are professional musicians, most of whom are students or postgraduates of St. Petersburg Conservatory. Their mission is to explore and popularize Russian choir music, both sacred and secular. According to Andrew L. Malone of the Washington Post, “Although the Russian Orthodox Church has inspired vocal music of incredible beauty, that music doesn’t get sung much by stateside ensembles: There’s a language barrier, and few singers can navigate complex modal harmonies without accompaniment. After the sampling of intense, elevated Orthodox music, the singers’ post-intermission entrance in traditional dress and singing a jaunty folk tune brought everything back to earth. The simpler music offered showcase solos for most of the singers, and lots of broad acting.”
This is a unique opportunity to share the enormous Russian musical heritage. Come and enjoy the sounds of Russia as interpreted by real Russians. The concert is open to the public, and a donation of $10 is suggested. For more information on Lyra and to hear the choir, visit www.lyra-online.org.
St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church is at 630 Mississippi Ave., Signal Mountain.