We woke to rain this morning, but the weather didn’t dampen our spirits – in fact, we’re really loving the cooler temps here in Vilnius (such a nice break from the heat and humidity of North Carolina!). After a wonderful breakfast at our hotel, we boarded the bus to head to Šv. Juozapo bažnyčia (St. Joseph’s Church) to participate in mass.
Standing in the corner in the little choir loft, we performed several pieces such as “Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal” and “Lux Aeterna,” to a full house that overflowed down the steps of the church – according to the priest, they’re building a new church as they’ve outgrown that one, so we can’t take full credit for drawing the crowd. The audience was so appreciative, applauding in unison, that we performed an encore of “Salmo 150” and we even spotted a few parishioners swaying along!
After the service ended, we had some free time for lunch before we gathered to walk to our second performance of the day – a concert at Šv. Kotrynos bažnyčia (St. Catherine’s Church), only a few blocks from our hotel. Originally built in 1618, then rebuilt in the 1740s after it was destroyed by fires, this cathedral is a gorgeous testament to Lithuania’s resilience, having survived disasters both natural (fire) and man-made (world wars and the Soviet occupation). This monastery turned art museum turned storehouse is now used as a performance space, and we were quite thrilled to sing in such a resonant, lively space!
And we had an even bigger thrill as Lithuanian composer Vaclovas Augustinas joined us as we rehearsed! Once of the pieces we performed this year is “Treputė Martela,” his setting of a Lithuanian folk song about flax spinning. With his help, we brought new life to this piece, and were honored when Augustinas agree to conduct it during the concert.
We’d like to thank all who attended our concert tonight, and say a special ačiū (thank you!) to Vaclovas Augustinas for working with us. And now, as they say in Lithuania, labos nakties (good night!).