Royal Voice: The 16th International Church Music Festival will take place in St Elisabeth Convent

The Royal Voice International Church Music Festival will take place in St Elisabeth Convent on October 28 and 29 for the 16th time. Choirs and singers from Minsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Donetsk, and Kyiv Oblast will participate in the festival.

During this annual event, the audience at the Church in honor of the Reigning icon of the Mother of God will hear not only church chants but also spiritual songs authored by great composers and the people alike. Aside from church and secular choirs, an Orthodox singer-songwriter will also take part in the festival. This laudable tradition of the Royal Voice Festival adds a special touch to the event.

The main concert of the Festival will begin at 11:30am on October 28 with a performance of the Maidens’ Choir of St Elisabeth Convent. If you listen to them, you will hardly believe that this choir is a new one. The love and professionalism of Matushka Maria Bakhvalova has been able to bring into the spotlight the talents of each girl. Singing of this choir is characterised by exceptional spiritual purity.  

Listening to a famous choir can be as simple as opening your browser tab and searching for its records but listening to the singing of small parish choirs demands more effort, possibly even coming to church during worship. Few residents of Minsk know the choir of the Church in honour of Pantanassa icon of the Mother of God, conducted by Olga Sholkova and Daria Svetchenkova. We hope that some new listeners will enjoy their performance and make friends with the Pantanassa parish.

Archpriest Sergius Kiselev, our guest from Kyiv Oblast, will play the guitar and sing his own songs. His songs are called “a combination of author music and a call to repentance”. Father Sergius has already performed in our city at various venues, including the Boarding Home and the Men’s Rehabilitation Centre. However, it will be his first concert in St Elisabeth Convent.

We can enjoy the spiritual heritage of renowned Russian composers thanks to the participation of Nizhny Novgorod Chamber Choir, which is a professional choir, and an almost professional Chamber Choir of Donetsk State Academy of Music n.a. Sergey Prokofiev. Both choirs preserve and popularise the traditions of their schools. Thanks to the guests from Nizhny Novgorod and Donetsk who will participate in our Festival for the first time, we will be able to appreciate these traditions.

Alimeh Murzaeva, the choir director of the Chamber Choir of Donetsk State Academy of Music emphasised in her application for the Festival, “Although the choir works under the auspices of a secular educational institution, performing church music has always been our priority. Almost all choir members are singers or precentors in various churches of the Diocese of Donetsk.”

Nun Juliania (Denisova), the chairperson of the Royal Voice Festival, got the chance to hear Nizhny Novgorod Chamber Choir during a choir contest in Penza. The crispness and prayerfulness of their singing made her so excited that she could not help inviting the choir to Minsk.

The members of the choir and their director Ivan Stolnikov put a lot of effort into preparing for the Royal Voice Festival. Not only will they participate in the main concert of the festival in the Church in honor of the Reigning icon of the Mother of God but they will also sing during the Liturgy the following day together with the Festive Choir of St Elisabeth Convent. They will also have a solo concert in the Verkhni Horad Concert Hall on October 29 at 4pm.

October 4, 2017 

St. Elisabeth Convent