2002 Concert Choir to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia and Finland
In May the UNO Concert Choir, led by Dr. Randall Stroope, seven art and music faculty and two art students left for Lithuania. Upon arrival in Vilnius the choir performed for the US Ambassador. He was very taken with the group and provided a beautiful reception following the concert. They then traveled to Siauliai (a sister city of Omaha) and took part in the International Art Festival. Here they performed with the Siauliai University Choir and the Lithuanian National Ensemble along with choirs from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. The group was met with standing ovations and numerous encores. Another tour highlight was the UNO Student Art Show held in the university’s gallery which featured works of 20 UNO art students. It was quite successful as the art was warmly received by Siauliai students, faculty and community. After three days of performances the group was treated to a cruise on the Baltic Sea and a picnic along with much singing and dancing. The next day the UNO faculty presented lectures to their colleagues while the students spent time with their university counterparts. Then the choir performed a final concert for the Festival followed by a lavish reception hosted by dignitaries from the city and university.
Next it was on to Riga with a chance to enjoy the countryside and the Rundale Palace where the choir performed. This site is an architectural pearl created by the architect Francesco Rastrelli, designer of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. The following day the choir participated in a service at Gertrude Church of Riga followed by a concert. The group then departed for Pskov, Russia. En route they toured the ancient Pskov Fortress followed by a traditional peasant lunch. Next was the Pecharsky Monastery where the group observed a working monastery that has operated unchanged for centuries. From Pskov it was on to St. Petersburg where they enjoyed the sights of this beautiful city including the tremendous art collection of the Hermitage and the Peterhoff Palace. The choir had successful concerts at the Church of St. Peter and the Cathedral of the Assumption where the group was honored by the attendance of the Lithuanian Diplomatic Delegation and the US Consulate.
It was then on to Tallinn where they relaxed in this city by the Baltic followed by a boat ride to Helsinki, where they performed at the Rock Church which is literally carved inside a rock. With the group’s return it was determined that through their art and music they reached over 10,000 people with treasured memories that will last a lifetime.