In late May, members of the Choral Society of West Georgia ventured to New York’s Carnegie Hall for a special performance. The 12-member group stood alongside nearly 200 other singers to recite A Ukrainian Prayer, an original requiem created by world-renowned singer, John Rutter, who wrote the piece to honor those lost in the ongoing Ukrainian war.
On Sunday the requiem was played at the end of the St. Mark’s Choral Society. Principal Bettie Biggs led members of St. Mark’s Choir and several guest singers to recite the requiem before the church congregation. The composition was a special piece added to the St. Mark’s Pentecost service, which featured several religious musical pieces in English and other languages. Notable guest vocalists included soprano Samantha LaCroix of Atlanta, mezzo-soprano Jessica Luffey of Atlanta, tenor Michael Robert Hendrick of LaGrange, bass-baritone John Arnold, flautist Sally Traylor, percussionist Nathaniel Gworek and l organist Robin Eriksen.
After the piece was completed, the singers received a standing ovation from church attendees, something that surprised and delighted the singers, Biggs said.
“Episcopalians don’t clap in church, so when they burst into applause, we were all thrilled but stunned,” Biggs said. “We were thrilled that they felt that [about the requiem].”
Sung in Ukrainian, the requiem was Rutter’s response to the civilian casualties of the Russo-Ukrainian War. Rutter said in a documentary that he wrote the composition overnight. The English translation of the composition reads: “Good God, protect Ukraine. Give him strength, courage, faith, hope. Amen.”
St. Mark’s service featuring “A Ukrainian Prayer” is available for viewing on the church’s Facebook page.