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Guest international choir performs at Bicknell Center

International Choir of the Music of the Continents perfoms with conductor Vladimir Gorbik at the Bicknell Center on Nov. 2. Alyssa Tyler

The International Choir of the Music of the Continents held their first concert on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021. The choir sang various Russian pieces and was conducted by native Russian and Grammy-nominated conductor Vladimir Gorbik.

Gorbik conducted the Southeast Kansas Symphony, which took a focus on Russian music, on Oct. 17. Gorbik then returned to conduct another concert and form a choir to perform more Russian music. The choir sang various traditional Russian Orthodox pieces by composers such as Tchaikovsky, Ledkovsky, and Rachmaninoff. Gorbik said that he wants to create a similar brand of music in Kansas as he has in Russia.

“I think there is big difference between not only music in our natures of course, but for example we have endless singing, or singing with no breathing, and we show it today as well,” Gorbik said. “American singing doesn’t really have that in my opinion. One of my American friends asked me one day many years ago, that, ‘If I listen to Russian melody, I want to cry!’ […] Russian people live very hard lives, this circumstance is in Russian melodies, church melodies and secular too. […] It’s like a prayer, about nature, about our people and about suffering, and a very hard life.”

Joshua Nobles, a student at the University of Kansas, and sang as a tenor in the choir, commented on his reason for joining the choir. 

“I really have grown to love Orthodox music, and it was really cool to get the opportunity to work with a really good conductor,” Nobles said.

Nobles further detailed what working with Vladimir was like. 

“He is very precise, and very fast, and very in charge of his rehearsals,” Nobles said. “He does a lot of cool analogies, and he’s very good at bringing imagery into what he wants us to do, and our sound. He pushes us to be really good, and he instills a lot of confidence in you. When he gives you a cue, its like really confident and strong.”

Vladimir discussed the mission of the choir itself and its ideas. 

“We have 2 people from Moscow, and 13 from America,” Gorbik said. “That’s very good with 2 nations, and we would like to keep peace in the world. Our goal is to see music of the continents, and tell us of our ideas, and different continents in general. We are trying to unite everybody through music, believers of all countries should be united.”

The choir was only formed 2 months ago, in preparation for this concert. The group features such students from universities like the University of Kansas, as well as locals from Pittsburg. Dazia Simms, a student at the University of Kansas, sang as an alto in the choir. 

“I really like how we came together,” Simms said. “We got the music about 2 months ago, but we didn’t really meet each other until last Thursday, so it just all clicked and sounded super great.”

The MOTC international choir was put on by the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts.

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