New Yorkers to host concert in support of Red Cross relief efforts in Georgia

Concert of Georgian music will feature eight American singing groups and benefit victims of recent conflict

New York, NY - The Grace and St. Paul's Lutheran Church will be filled with the rich and exotic sounds of music from the Republic of Georgia during a benefit concert on Saturday, November 15, 2008. Eight singing groups will be featured in the concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Concert organizers are requesting a suggested donation of $20 at the door, which will be directed to support the on-going work of the International Red Cross in areas affected by the war in Georgia.

"Although Georgia has recently been in the news due to its strategic importance to the world's two largest military powers, few people are acquainted with its distinct culture," said Ezra Halleck, an event organizer. "The Georgian language is related to no other in the world and has its own unique alphabet. Georgians have managed to preserve their extraordinary ancient vocal tradition, which is believed to predate Christianity."

Because of the recent conflict between Russia and Georgia in August, greater attention has been paid to this small former Soviet nation bordered on the west by the Black Sea and on the north and south by the towering Caucasus Mountains. The concert will provide New Yorkers with a rare chance to experience Georgian folk singing without traveling half-way around the world. "There has been a growing appreciation of Georgian singing in the West and several groups now sing this music regionally," according to Halleck.

Saturday's concert will feature some of these regional Georgian singing groups including the Hudson Valley-based choir "The Kartuli Ensemble," as well as three trios: "The Other Georgia" from Boston, MA, "Dzmoba" from Philadelphia, PA, and "Brevalo" from Williamstown, MA. Soloist Aurelia Shrenker will perform, along with "Dedebi," a female choir and "Gaurmarjos," a male choir, both from Princeton University. The parish choir of St. Nino's Georgian Orthodox Mission, Brooklyn, NY will also perform on the concert.

"Georgians culture revolves around music, and their folk songs represent one of the most remarkable musical forms in the world, counting Igor Stravinsky and Billy Joel among its admirers," Halleck added.

The Grace and St. Paul's Lutheran Church is located at 123 West 71st Street (between Columbus Ave and Broadway in Manhattan).

For more information, call Tamar Schumann at 212-874-3289 or email her at tamarschmnn@yahoo.com.

The Kartuli Ensemble