Alex Kuzma, the Yale senior who conducted the University's Russian Chorus on its recent tour of the Soviet Union, claims that his group "really began to break down, on a personal level, some of the misunderstandings that have existed between Soviets and Americans" on the foreign soil.
For sure, they must have destroyed illusions that Americans are all women or all hucksters who do little other than peddle levi jeans and watch La Verne and Shirley. But if they had done nothing more than showcase themselves over there as one of the finest college vocal groups this country has to offer, that would have been both valid and sufficient.
With splotches of caviar and borscht still fresh on their lapels, the all-male a capella chorus comes twenty-five strong to perform at Sanders this Friday night, in the first of their public concerts since they returned to the country. What a range in character and style the group boasts of! It has performed from San Francisco to Moscow, is composed of Engineering to Slavic majors, has alumni in international opera companies and huge business corporations, and stores a repertoire of liturgical and secular music ranging geographically from Latvia to Macedonia. But the range stops somewhere. According to the Chorus' publicity brochure, the range stops when it comes to articulation and emotion. "All," it says," are articulate, and all share the deep emotions their music demands."
The group does sing exclusively in Russian, but those who heard them in the aftermath of Harvard's victorious day on the football field last year in New Haven, can attest to the vibrancy and sincerity which they derive from the foreign tongue and tunes in their musical offerings. Anyway, if you find the all-Russian diet too filling, you can piirouetteska down to Winthrop to fluff out on "L'Appllon de Ballac" or up to the Yen Ching Library to decipher I Ching.
The busboys at my favorite greasy spoon have this saying: "Zum in, and zum out" which might clarify the little ditty somebody asked me to write about this here concert. "Russian, but stay there." Very funny.