Why sing with Slavyanka?

For more than forty years, the Slavyanka Chorus has performed music from the varied choral traditions of Russia and Eastern Europe to help audiences enjoy, understand, and appreciate the cultural history behind these traditions. In singing, we bring our audiences with us into the presence of the truly universal truths of human life – beauty, nature, suffering, loss, grief, joy, divine and human love – which remind us all that we are brothers and sisters with people halfway around the world in a single human family.
In Slavyanka, you’ll make lasting friendships with others who share a love of music and bring with them a rich variety of other interests. And you’ll gain new voice and musical knowledge through the outstanding leadership of our director and staff.

What is the typical Slavyanka repertoire?
Slavyanka’s repertoire includes sacred music of the Russian Orthodox church - liturgical masterpieces as well as Byzantine chant – and secular choral repertoire of Russia’s major composers, Russian and Eastern European folk and festive songs. In the past we have also prepared traditional American works which we shared with our Russian audiences on tour.
What are the expectations from me as a Slavyanka singer?
Singers are expected to prepare for and attend all rehearsals, participate in concerts, pay monthly $25 dues, and sometimes pay a small fee for the cost of musical scores. Singers are asked to promote and sell tickets to our concerts. And once you get on board, there are many volunteer activities where you can help out.
When and where are Slavyanka rehearsals?
Currently, rehearsals are held every Thursday from 7 to 9.30 in San Francisco behind Star of the Sea Church at 8th and Geary in the Richmond District. If you would like to join us for a rehearsal please email Paul Andrews at paulandrews@earthlink.net. Parking is normally easily accessed in the church parking lot. Ask about opportunities for carpooling from your area.
How many performances does Slavyanka give per year? What is Slavyanka’s concert attire?
Slavyanka prepares one or two major concerts per year – one in Spring and one in the Fall/Winter season. Each concert is typically presented three times over a weekend: Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Concert attire for women is a long black skirt, black top, black shoes and stockings, accessorized by pearls. For some performances of folk songs Slavyanka provides colorful scarves to wear over your shoulders.
Concert attire for men is a black tuxedo and black shoes. For concerts of folk music, such as the Fort Ross Russian Festival, men will wear traditional, decorated silk shirts.
Do I need to know Russian to sing in Slavyanka? How can I learn the required repertoire?
Most members of Slavyanka do not read or speak Russian or other languages Slavyanka sings, such as Old Church Slavonic, Georgian, or Armenian. All our music includes transliteration of the sounds of the original language into the Roman alphabet.
When preparing for a concert, special sessions are held for those needing or wanting extra practice with pronunciation.
Slavyanka provides recordings of repertoire for members to listen to, as well as mp3 practice files with words and music separated out for each part. Singers are expected to prepare for each rehearsal by learning the notes and words to the extent possible. When starting to learn new repertoire, sectionals for soprano/alto and tenor/bass voices are typically part of the Thursday rehearsals.
What other activities does Slavyanka engage in besides their formal concerts?
Slavyanka has been invited to participate in choral festivals, to sing at Fort Ross and at the San Francisco Russian Center, to record for film scores, to sing at weddings and to do concert tours. While these are optional, we seek to have a balanced sound which gives a true representation of Slavyanka. Please consider making your commitment to the group with enough flexibility to participate in these special activities.
I can sing from a score, but I haven’t had formal voice training. Can I still sing with Slavyanka?
Not all Slavyanka singers have had voice training. As stated above, we perform a broad range of vocal styles which require different techniques. During rehearsals, our directors spend time teaching us how to better use our voices in general, and also how to produce the sound they want for each selection. Slavyanka also provides periodic voice training using the Estill Voice Training® model, specifically designed to give singers the flexibility to navigate the style, timbre, and agility appropriate to the repertoire and to respond to specific direction given by our conductor.