Lyra: Heaven on Earth

When I was in high school, the best I could hope for by way of current information on Russia was to muster the courage to ask the head librarian to take down the most recent back issues of Time magazine. The reporting was neither comprehensive nor objective. Always it seemed there were briefs about dark-minded political monsters with thick eyebrows running across their thick faces who lived to destroy the Free World.

That was then. Fast forward, oh, 25 years and the Soviet Union is right in front of me--first as images on my computer monitor and then as a group of trained singers offering up magnificent hymns of the Russian Orthodox Church at my church--St. John's Episcopal on the Green--in Waterbury, Connecticut. Here are gentle, refined, talented human beings sharing the sacred and the ancient of their culture with mine.

The singers are an ensemble of Lyra, a society of choir conductors, opera singers, instrumentalists, and music teachers from various musical groups throughout St. Petersburg, Russia who sing in the US and other Western countries on a regular basis. Founded in 1994, Lyra has introduced nearly 25,000 people to the musical heritage of the Russian Orthodox Church as well as to Russian folk music.

One small group of these tremendously talented people filled the sanctuary of St. John's with the most beautiful sounds in the world. In the Russian Orthodox Church, where worship could last four or more hours, the human voice is the sole instrument of musical praise and adoration. These people are talented, trained, experienced, and inspired.

They put a beautiful gift from the other side of the world within reach of anybody at all for a very small ticket price. The St. John's on Sepember 6 concert kicked off a 47-stop, 40-day tour on the East Coast. Catch them if you can. If there's a heaven to go to, it's right here and extends as far as their voices reach.

Lyra Schedule (Click on each slide to follow the schedule)


  1. Thank you for your wonderful comment on my blog. Like that bit of info about Renoir's painting. I find my "heaven on earth" traveling to many different islands in the world. It's good, you find "heaven on earth" by listening to the heavenly voices of the LYRA.

  2. Anonymous9:34 PM

    Very good comments, Sandy. I would love to hear Lyra.

    My admiration for Russian singers is focused on the Red Army Chorus - perhaps because of my former military life, and because I speak Russian. Understanding sung Russian is very difficult, except when one listens to the Red Army Chorus. They not only use their strong Russian voices well; they pronounce things carefully and precisely!

  3. Allways a pleasure to come and read this marvelous blog.

  4. Greg,
    I've added Lyra's schedule to this post. I hope you'll get the chance to hear them in person.

    Thanks for sharing some of your adventures!

    PS Hasty Ruminations is a great blog!


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