Reflection Masthead
Issue 155 - Russian Sounds & Sights - July 2017
The sights and sounds of our trip to Russia in May 
continue to resonate in our hearts and minds. 
So today we share some of those sights and sounds with you.
Singing and Dancing  
We are in Yaroslavl, a one-thousand-year-old city on the Volga River. Our local guide learns that Vivat,
a men's quartet, is holding an open rehearsal, and takes us to listen. After we take our seats, the men open with a breathtakingly beautiful, acapella setting of the Lord's Prayer,* before shifting to Russian folk music.
Later, we tour the 19th-century Yaroslavl Governor's Mansion. There, young guides in period costume introduce themselves to us as "the governor's children" - sadly, their father is traveling and will not be able to receive us today, but they will be glad to show us through the mansion. The tour ends in a grand ballroom. Musicians (also in period dress) enter the room, and we are introduced to the dances of the era. Some of us even get to
Governor's Mansion
dance! (Who am I to refuse the invitation of the governor's daughter?)
Over and over, during our tour of Russia, we encountered music: folk music, classical music, sacred music. Vladimir was a musician who traveled with us on our cruise ship. One day he was playing folk music on the accordion, the next he performed an hour of Tchaikovsky at the piano, without a single piece of sheet-music.
In the old Broadway musical, Cabaret, the master of ceremonies sings,
Money makes the world go around
The world go around
The world go around
Money makes the world go around
It makes the world go 'round
Of course, the only reason I remember those rather banal words is that they were set to rather catchy music. Is it really money that makes the world go around, or is it music?
Psalm 137, written during the Jewish exile in Babylon (6th -century BCE), famously asks, "How could we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?" But for century after century, the Jewish people did keep singing their songs, which may be one explanation of how Jewish identity survived centuries of displacement and persecution. Some of that persecution came at the hands of various Russian governments.
No, nothing we learned in Russia led to any admiration for Russian government, present or past. But the music led us to deep respect for the Russian spirit. 
- Bill 
* Composed by Nikolay Kedrov, Sr.  A recording can be found below.
Landscape, Culture, and Art 
Thank you, dear friends, for asking to see our photos. From a treasure of 972 pictures, I chose 30 or so photos for a video slide show. Please enjoy by clicking the link below...
Landscape, Culture and Art

                                                                                             --by Jan

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Copyright (c) 2017 Soul Windows Ministries


Bill Howden and Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries



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