December 2011 saw the College Choir fly east to spend a week in snowy Ukraine as guests of the Dmitry Firtash Foundation.
The Choir sang two sell-out concerts in Lviv and Kiev which were greeted with numerous standing ovations on both occasions. Musical highlights from the concerts included Mykola Leontovich’s famous Bell Carol, William Byrd’s Laetentur caeli and Gerald Finzi’s setting of the Magnificat.
As well as giving concert performances, the Choir took part in a number of other engagements, including a musical soiree hosted by the British Council in Kiev and attended by visiting MPs and Peers, the British Ambassador and members of the Dmitry Firtash Foundation.
One of the highlights of the week was a joint musical workshop with students from the Boris Grinchenko University in Kiev. This was a wonderful occasion of cultural exchange which exposed the Choir to a setting of part of the Russian Orthodox service of Vespers (Blagoslovi, dushe moja, Gospoda) by the Ukrainian composer Kyrylo Stetsenko (1882-1922). This swiftly became a favourite of the Choir, and went on to feature as an encore piece in both concerts; it was subsequently recorded for the CD, War and Peace, which was released in October 2013.