by Zosia Caes
The day started off with a sound lesson for the undergraduate contingent: three hours on a bus is not the same as another three of sleep. Their three AM trek to the nearby woods and shwarma stand was cruelly met with a wake-up two hours later for a bus to rural Rostov, on which young choristers curled into speed-deprived and slightly-hungover balls vainly trying to catch up on sleep. An hour in we stocked up on gas station delicacies, and forged on to the Rostov Kremlin. The 11th century cathedral looked the worse for wear, with scaffolding running up the sides and great holes where icons and sturdier stone were once found. Yet, there was beauty in such imperfection. And it seems that similar sentiments were held toward the performance of the YRC’s “liturgy crew” by the faithful, as they wore pious smiles despite us reinventing the sounds of the Orthodox Liturgy with great liberty and reckless abandon in traditional style.
|by Ladi, again|
|Ladi, the man, the myth, the legend|
While the “lit crew” pressed on, the remainder of the chorus meandered about town. There were sights abound, from packs of stray dogs to the local сад with a massive inflatable cathedral-shaped bouncy house. We congregated outside outside the church in time for the grand procession to the “nearby” monastery, and followed suit of our conductor emeritus as he chanted “христос воскресе” and we mimicked in turn something along the lines of “vossss**??**ti**??**na**kresne?”. The procession through Rostov was unlike anything we had seen on tour so far, which says volumes given that the night before . Visual aids attached. Hundreds joined us in a communal walk to the local monastery, and it seemed like not a soul in the town was abstaining from the ceremony (sans one woman sprawled on the side of the road and working on her beach tan, who seemed to draw the ire of every passing old woman [no visual aid attached]).
After the service, we were served one of our best lunches yet. Borscht, kvas, and sacramental wine [manischewitz?] flowed freely, and open bottles of vodka were loosening our voices in preparation for what was looking to become an interesting concert. Luckily, no such thing existed. There was no price to pay for our libations, as a fortunate miscommunication meant that there was really no post-lunch concert waiting for us at all. When we were initially told that we would “sing for” the monastery at some point after the liturgy, it really meant we would join in a potpourri of curated karaoke stints over the course of lunch. Gabe touched on a few hard rock classics, while Ernie melted faces with smooth jazz guitar. Our hosts treated us in turn. Rock on.