Bel Canto Choir Vilnius & Purdue Varsity Glee Club: UNBLOCK. Music that breaks barriers

A special night in Vilnius with 120 singers on the stage of the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall.

On May 21, 2017, Bel Canto Choir Vilnius and a renowned U.S. university male choir – the Purdue Varsity Glee Club – presented their joint music project – UNBLOCK. Music that breaks barriers. Two different choirs from Lithuania and the U.S. presented the most beautiful contemporary choral music and interpretations of well-known jazz, musical, barbershop and gospel pieces in a joint concert. Sixty singers from the mixed choir Bel Canto Choir Vilnius and 60 singers from the male Purdue Varsity Glee Club took part in the concert.

Modern choral music on one stage along with jazz, pop, barbershop classics

The Bel Canto Choir Vilnius, conducted by its new artistic director Egidijus Kaveckas, performed popular pieces by world-famous U.S. choral music composer Eric Whitacre and prominent Lithuanian composers Vytautas Miškinis and Vaclovas Augustinas.

The Purdue Varsity Glee Club, which is well known for its spectacular performances, presented its interpretations of well-known musicals, barbershop, gospel and jazz pieces specifically arranged for the choir. They included Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, “When You’re Smiling”, which was made famous by Louis Armstrong, and a set of pieces by legendary jazz singer, composer and pianist Nat King Cole.

90 male voices shaked the Philharmonics

The choirs from Lithuania and the U.S. prepared a special surprise for the Vilnius audience. “Pater Noster” (Motherland of Ours) by the Lithuanian composer Vaclovas Augustinas was performed by 90 male voices from both choirs.

The artistic director of Bel Canto Choir Vilnius, Dr. Egidijus Kaveckas, says that the joint Lithuanian and American choir project was aimed at encouraging contemporary cultural environment, emphasizing our place in Western culture, as well as inspiring the creativity and innovation of Lithuanian choirs.

“We were delighted to welcome this American choir in Vilnius and to perform with them. We are different choirs, hence it was interesting to share the same stage, to learn from each other, to exchange ideas and experiences and to present different approaches to choral music. Even though most of Bel Canto’s repertoire consists of wonderful contemporary choral music, we present it in a delicate and elegant way, yet we are a choir more of a classical or “traditional” type. Meanwhile, our American colleagues combine classical choral music with other styles, and distinctive choreography makes their performance more varied. I am certain that this joint project with Purdue University’s male choir will inspire both us and the Americans and that it gave the audience unforgettable impressions”, Dr. Kaveckas says.

115-year-old traditions, Carnegie Hall and the inaugurations of six U.S. presidents

Established in 1893, the Purdue Varsity Glee Club unites over 90 talented music-loving students at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The choir has performed on such famous stages as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York and at the inaugurations of six U.S. presidents. It has toured Australia, New Zealand, China and numerous European countries.

Artistic Director of the Bel Canto Choir Vilnius is Dr. Egidijus Kaveckas. The second conductor and choirmaster is Milda Zapolskaitė, the choirmaster and concertmaster is Raminta Gocentienė. Artistic Director of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club is William E. Griffel. Producer of the Concert is Audrius Valatkevičius, the President of the Bel Canto Choir Vilnius.

UNBLOCK concert in photos

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Concert Program. Bel Canto Choir Vilnius

Anoj Pusėj Dunojėlio
Vaclovas Augustinas

M.K. Oginskio Priesakai Sūnui
Vaclovas Augustinas

Neišeik, Saulala
Vytautas Miškinis

Du Dob Dob
Vaclovas Augustinas

Enjoy the Silence
Martin Gore; arrangement by Eric Whitacre

Eric Whitacre

Bach (Again) Come Sweet Death
Johann Sebastian Bach; arrangement by Rhonda Sandberg

River of Dreams
Billy Joel; arrangement by Vitalijus Neugasimovas

Concert Program. Purdue Varsity Glee Club

Ambassadors of Song
Ted Arthur

As long as I’m Singin’
Bobby Darin

That Ever I Saw
Darmon Meador

Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho
Aranžuotė David Wright

Old Time Religion – Lighthouse

Ave Maria
Franz Biebl

Bridge Over Troubled Water
Simon & Garfunkel, arrangement by Ben Bram

Nat King Cole Medley 
Arrangement by David Harrington

When You’re Smiling
Louis Armstrong

Roll Over Beethoven

I’ve Got Rhythm
George Gershwin, arrangement by Ted Arthur

Embraceable You
George Gershwin

Gregorian Chant, George Frideric Handel, Franz Peter Schubert, Giuseppe Verdi

Sure on this Shining Night
Arrangement by Jay Gialombardo

Tribute to World Peace
Songs: Let There Be Peace On Earth (Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller), One Voice (Barry Manilow). Arrangement by Jay Gialombardo

Pater Noster (Tėvyne Mūsų)
Vaclovas Augustinas
Performed by male singers of both choirs

Artists & Performers

Purdue Varsity Glee Club
Artistic Director William E. Griffel

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius
Artistic Director Dr. Egidijus Kaveckas. The second conductor and choirmaster is Milda Zapolskaitė, the choirmaster and concertmaster is Raminta Gocentienė

Raminta Gocentienė

Producer of the Concert
Audrius Valatkevičius

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