It is seldom that the audience hears so much beautiful music that leaves the listener awe struck, and all of it is to the glory of God.
My wife and I just returned from a concert by the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. A large church in Albuquerque was 3/4 full of listeners. The front of the church was stuffed with musicians. A drummer sat behind the pulpit and two violinists played from behind the lectern holding the Bible. The string bases and most of the brass section spilled onto the floor in front of the platform. Normally such a disorganized arrangement of musicians results in confusion and poor performance. Tonight, the songs were well performed. All entrances were crisp and on time. All instruments and voices were well balanced. At no time did one section drowned another. Oh, did I mention that the ticket price was right? (Free)
This orchestra and chorus are part of Music Mission Kiev. They are nearing the end of a tour of Canada and western United States. Music Mission Kiev is an evangelical outreach to the Ukraine. Rather than have me try to describe their work, read their website. This work started out with a U.S. conductor organizing musicians to play religious music that had been prohibited under communist rule. In the process, he witnessed to his musicians. It is now a full blown mission that not only brings the gospel to the musicians and their audiences, but also cares for widows, pensioners, orphans and provides other Christian activities for the children and adults of Kiev. The musicians we heard tonight are on tour to both inspire Christians and to raise funds.
The musicians performing were professional, classical musicians. It has been years since I heard a Slavic base section sing such low notes with such great tone. Aside from the tours of North America, musicians from the Music Mission Kiev perform concerts in Europe. Their focus in the nations of the former USSR. They bring their music ministry, even to strongly Muslim countries. They are unabashedly evangelical.
So often we question the wisdom of God. We ask, “Why did God allow something bad to happen?” For example, think about all the bad things the former Soviet Union did. One of these was to force the Russian language to be taught in the entire USSR. This was, of course, to the detriment of local cultures and national languages.
God knew exactly what he was doing. The chorus sings in several languages including Russian. Music Mission Kiev has translated religious works by Bach, Handle, Haydn and Mendelssohn into Russian. When they perform these works in Russian, people in the former USSR can understand the words. Even the Muslims in the audiences hear the word of God in a language they can understand.
A spectacular 90 minutes of professionally performed classical music and the highest level of quality. We were enchanted, but the piper must be paid. There was no pressure, but a brief presentation was made about the work of the mission and a free will offering was taken.
I am not a fan of rock music, but I think it is fair to say that we received entertainment equal to or greater than that at a rock concert by a national band. Considering how much rock concert tickets go for, we should have been emptying our pockets. I made a donation that was as generous as I felt I could make. I hope others were similarly inspired and gave in proportion to their means.
Unfortunately this tour is almost over. Tomorrow they head west toward Los Angeles for their flight home. En route, they will make a few concerts in Arizona and the LA area. You may not have a chance to catch them this year, but I encourage you to follow their web site. They will be back. If they come to your area, go hear them. Support their work if you can.