Moscow Oratorio Society. A Unique Sound
By Linda Lippner
Many who come to Moscow are looking for new and unique opportunities. This happens in the business world and also in the cultural life of the city. In culture, there are unique opportunities to see excellent musicians and world class productions of ballet and opera. But you might like to take the plunge and become part of the cultural swirl here by contributing your own musical talents.
The Moscow Oratorio Society is a group that will allow you to participate in presenting choral works of the highest quality, while contributing to a charity through your artistic efforts. But, you don’t have to throw caution and your self image to the wind in order to participate in the Moscow Oratorio Society. The musical director, Alexander Tsaliuk, has a well-thought out plan to get you up and singing with the group with as much confidence as you can muster. Once the musical selections are chosen for the twice-yearly concerts (Christmas season and spring), Conductor Tsaliuk distributes individual tapes of the music to be learned. Not only do you get a CD of the complete musical selections, you receive a tape of your actual musical part in the production. If you are an alto, a soprano, a tenor or a bass, Mr. Tsaliuk himself, has personally recorded your part, so that you may take it home, listen and sing along with his interpretation of your singing part. Of course, for the soprano and alto parts, Mr. Tsaliuk sings in his voice at one octave lower. But you can still capture the pronunciation, the rhythm and all the other aspects of your part in the overall choral ensemble. What better way to ease your way into choral singing?
And who are the choir members? They come from all walks of expat life. Many Russians have also joined over the years. Citizens of Japan, Spain, Poland, plus African, Scandinavian and South American nations have been represented along with many Americans and Brits. Most Russians who have joined over the years have had some musical training and are looking for ways to express their talent after they have made the difficult decision to work in other professions after their musical education was complete. Expats join if they also had a musical education, but many are trying this type of musical expression for the first time. All are brought to a level of excellence by the very dedicated and talented Musical Director. Conductor Tsaliuk holds down many “day jobs” in the musical world of choral conducting, but has remained loyal to conducting this dedicated group of volunteers in the musical life of Moscow.
There are social and even linguistic advantages of joining the Moscow Oratorio Society. Occasional social gatherings occur during the year, and professional and social networking opportunities abound with such a diverse and interesting group of people. An interesting off-shoot of the choral work is that you get a chance to read and understand the Russian language of music. All instructions and musical terms are given in English and Russian and you can build up your vocabulary of musical terms in both languages and perhaps impress your friends at the next concert you attend. In other words, you are learning about music as you learn the music.
Finally, there is the giving-throughcharity aspect of joining the choral group. All proceeds are coordinated through the International Women’s Club (IWC) to the Choir’s charity of choice. This season the Moscow Oratorio Society has chosen to support Cradle, an NGO founded in the city of Ivanova in 2002. Cradle aims to reduce the alarmingly high number of children and infants abandoned to orphanages by providing assistance to pregnant women and to single mothers with infants and young children. The women receive medical help and clothing for their families and some are given temporary housing in a shelter that was built in 2004. Donations administered through the IWC this year will be utilized by Cradle to expand the shelter so that more families can be accommodated, and to provide space for vocational training and medical services.
Watch for announcements about the upcoming Christmas Season choral concert. Tickets will be sold by members at many venues and events in the fall and winter. Or better yet, please give a call to the numbers below and find out about trying out your own voice with this group of international singers.