Russian Vocal Lesson by Clara Giorgis ‘21

Clara is a senior Russian and International Studies major and the Russian Department TA for the 2020-2021 academic year.

This past Thursday, October 29, 2020, Professor of Russian Elena Duzs led a workshop with the members of the Dickinson College Choir as we added Old Church Slavonic text to Rachmaninoff’s “All Night Vigil.” Meeting over Zoom, the Choir has been rehearsing the notes of this piece since the beginning of the semester, but we needed an expert tutorial to ensure that our pronunciation was spot on. Although it was a bit strange to practice pronunciation without being able to hear those responding (the choir has over 50 singers, so everyone remains on mute during rehearsal), you could see how closely everyone was following along, repeating unfamiliar words. While this isn’t the first time I’ve sung in Russian with the College Choir (we performed the second movement of the same piece during my Sophomore year), this was the first time that I felt confident enough in my knowledge of Russian to be able to help out. Understanding the meaning behind the text of the song has made singing this piece especially meaningful for me. The members of the choir will be recording each of their parts individually throughout the semester to be compiled and presented as a digital concert in the Spring.

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