LYRA has performed consistently in the United States for many years, making repeat stops in the Chippewa Valley throughout their career.

In a time of increased political divide between two of the largest nations in the world, a performing arts group is making a stop in Chippewa Falls to help bring people together.

Russian vocal ensemble LYRA is set to perform Friday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls. Tickets are $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and $4 for youth. Tickets are available on the Heyde Center website and at the door on the day of the event.

LYRA is a vocal ensemble from St. Petersburg, Russia, who perform a medley of traditional Russian folk songs and chants from the Russian Orthodox Church. The current lineup includes Aleksandr Kudriashow (bass), Tatsiana Melnikava (mezzo-soprano), Dennis Patsiuk (tenor) and Sergey Tupitsyn (baritone).

Tupitsyn said the inspiration for setting off to tour America and other countries around the world is to spread positivity throughout these areas and expose people to a style of music which may be foreign to them.

“We try and bring a piece of Russian culture and Russian music to new groups of people, which I think is one of the treasures of the world,” Tupitsyn said. “In particular I think choral music is something unique to share with audiences in the United States and around the world.”

LYRA has been touring in America for years, with the group being well received for decades throughout the United States. Tupitsyn said the country no longer seems other worldly to the group, as they have seen many areas throughout the country while on their performance tours.

“We have been to America many times and we enjoy playing cities in Wisconsin like Chippewa Falls,” Tupitsyn said. “We have probably seen more of America than the average American has. Everywhere we go we want to spread peace and love to everyone.”

Factoring in the negative stereotypes of Russian people portrayed in mainstream media, executive director for the Heyde Center for the Arts Debra Johnson said LYRA’s performance offers a unique opportunity for Chippewa Valley residents to start challenging their perceived thoughts on Russians and Russian culture.

“Especially nowadays when our governments seem to be at odds, it’s really nice for people to connect with people from another country to understand that political ideologies and personalities do not represent all of a large population like Russia,” Johnson said. “Both countries can go back and say they misjudged what people from the other country are really like.”

For more information on LYRA’s performance you can visit the event page on the Heyde Center website.

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