Westmont Choir

Visits to cathedrals, art museums, the Kremlin, and the KGB museum in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius were all eye-and-mind-opening events. "The choir's performances were very well-received," Michael recalls, "with standing ovations at every turn and particular appreciation for the Lithuanian and Russian repertoire that was shared in the respective countries." Following the exchange at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Michael received an invitation to return in the fall to conduct a week of master classes with the Conservatory's choirs and present a concert at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

"I was pleased by the Chamber Singers' focus in their many performances," Grey notes. "They sang beautifully in a hall at the Moscow Conservatory that was too small for the entire College Choir, but well-suited to a more intimate ensemble, and their nuanced singing of an 'Agnus Dei' by Palestrina was perfect for their last appearance in the extraordinarily resonant acoustic of St. Catherine Basilica in St. Petersburg."

"The entourage was blessed with good health," Michael relates "and mostly cooperative weather (not excluding some rain that was enjoyed by all), warm greetings by our hosts in every location, and safe travel."

Above photo: Members of the College Choir (including Michael, in the center, and Grey, on the right) pose with their Russian counterparts in Rachmaninoff Hall at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow.