Bel Canto Choir Vilnius: Let's Stay Strong, Healthy and Optimistic!

Dear Friends,

Who could have thought that 2020 would turn out to be such a challenging year for us all, so full of anxiety, broken dreams, and unfulfilled plans? This difficult and painful year will certainly leave its mark on us – there will be films made and pieces of music created about this experience for years to come.

We also believe, however, that in times of distress, we’re all given the opportunity to reflect on our values, to stop, take a look around, and decide what we value most, who our true friends are, and what is it that we want to achieve. Uncertainty, trouble, and crises also show us what is real and true and how important it is to persevere and keep making beautiful things, encouraging us to pursue what we find meaningful, to dream bigger and aim higher.

2020 was a year like no other for our choir, too. We had to postpone major concerts, meetings, and joint projects with wonderful singers and performers from Lithuania, the United Kingdom, and Sweden. However, this temporary break gave us the chance to refresh, do our homework, and make plans and preparations for the future.

We’re very pleased that our team has been joined by more than twenty superb new singers. Even though the circumstances allowed us to have just five months of rehearsals together, we have got to know them very well and they have become an important part of the choir.

In 2020, we received funding from the Lithuanian Council for Culture to record our first studio album – even though you can find many recordings by us on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music, they are all from live shows. The second wave of the pandemic made us postpone our recording sessions in Paliesius Manor until next year, but we are confident that this will be an excellent album. We have chosen some wonderful contemporary choral pieces for it and are very pleased to have our long-time friends joining us: the Mettis String Quartet, cellist Augustas Gocentas, pianist Motiejus Bazaras, Norwegian singer-songwriter Marius Beck, and many others. The album will also include several solo pieces performed by our choir singers as well as pop music arrangements, created specifically for us, with the recording done by our wonderful and incredibly famous friends, the Grammy-nominated sound directors Vilius Keras and Aleksandra Kerienė. We cannot wait to see each other again in the truly special surroundings of Paliesius Manor and get to work!

The release of the new album is still some time away, but this year we published quite a few live recordings of our previous concerts on music streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and YouTube.

‘Fly to Paradise’, a very energetic piece by Eric Whitacre, was released a single, which also features different mixes of vocal and electronic music and includes a longer version with a full intro to the performance. Our 2018 performance at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic was conducted by the composer himself.

Our album ‘Together in Vilnius’ features some of the most beautiful pieces from our 2018 and 2019 Christmas concerts, in which we performed alongside singer-songwriter Marius Beck, opera soloist Lina Dambrauskaitė, singer-songwriter Tomas Sinickis, and others.

The popularity of our YouTube channel has been rising steadily. The total number of views is now over 12 million, with 3.3 million views added in 2020 alone. Most of our viewers are based in the US, Germany, Italy, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Brazil, Spain, Lithuania, and Canada. Our audience is 66% male and 34% female, with 56% aged 18 to 54 and 44% 55 or older.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported and stayed with us during this difficult year. First of all, a huge thank you to our sponsors: construction company Mitnija, international real estate organisation Vastint Lithuania, international property asset management company Newsec and the Lithuanian Council for Culture. We would also like to thank Vilnius City Municipality not only for their support but also for the rehearsal space: during the summer and in the early autumn, we were able to hold safe rehearsals in the spacious main chamber of the city council.

2020 made us all pause and think about many aspects of life, including our families, the work we do, our communities, our responsibility towards others and the world we live in, the art of music, and the true eternal values. We believe that this will help us all create a better, more caring, and more responsible world.

Let us stay strong and healthy and not lose our optimism. Have a pleasant, successful and meaningful New Year!

The Bel Canto Choir Vilnius Team


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