In the days preceding the Nativity of our Lord, members of the Serbian Singing Society Branko Radichevich and the Pontifical Choir of Holy Virgin Protection Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Des Plaines, spoke in earnest of hosting a combined concert of Orthodox hymns.
Members and the directors of both choirs had always aspired to host such a concert, but it was a member of the Sretensky Choir of Moscow’s battle with lymphoma that inspired the singers to finally act.
On February 10th, Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral was the site of a benefit concert to support Petr Gudkov, specifically to appeal for funds to offset the cost of his treatment and God willing, his eventual recovery. Both our hierarch, His Grace Bishop Longin and His Grace Bishop Peter of the Russian Midwestern Diocese eagerly gave their blessings for this event. Once the concert was finalized, rehearsals began in earnest by both choirs at both Cathedrals.
The concert began shortly after the scheduled 4pm start time when the Hierarchs entered the Cathedral. A combined choir performed Ton Despotin/Is Polla Eti Despota when the Hierarchs entered and at the conclusion, a rousing “Mnogaja Ljeta” intoned for the health of Petr. The Russian choir’s performance included the Troparia for the Feasts of the Nativity and Epiphany along with the Magnificat and Canons for the Vigil service for the Nativity. Brankies who participated with the Russian choir included director Elizabeth Neskow, President Jelena Stojakovic, Mike Minkel and David Sekicky. Brankies performance included the Marinkovic arrangement of the Cherubic Hymn, Tajcevic’s arrangement of “Jedin Svjat” and “Gospodi Uslisi” and Mokranjac’s triumphant “Tebe Boga Hvalim.” Russian singers Ksenia Papkov, Protodeacon Vadim Gan along with their director, Dr. Misha Gill, sang with the SSS Branko Radichevich.
The praise from audience members given to individual singers at the reception that took place in the church hall afterwards was nothing short of heartwarming as was the show of support from not only Serbs and Russians, but Ukrainians, Greeks, Bulgarians and the entire Pan-Orthodox community. “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2). It is these words of Apostle Paul that well describe [this concert]. Those were the words from scripture as quoted by Deacon Leonty Naidzions in his report on the Russian Orthodox website. The two choirs merely provided a forum to draw attention to Petr’s fight for life. It was the outpouring of love and generosity of those who attended, and many who did not, that made this concert not only a financial, but a moral success!