So why is Calvin Jones releasing a symphonic recording of "Shchedryk" ("Carol of the Bells") in the spring of 2022? The story is a compelling one, so keep reading. While Calvin is an American composer/pianist, his wife is a native of Ukraine. Early in the morning of 2/24/22, they were awakened by bombs and loud sirens near their apartment in Kyiv. They packed what they could into their car and escaped to a friend's home in Romania while listening to news of what was happening all around them. They also did what they could to help others evacuate and to assist those who stayed behind. In the meantime, Calvin reflected on the experience he had in 2017 when he recorded "Shchedryk" ("Carol of the Bells") with a 55-piece Russian orchestra known as Taurida International Symphony Orchestra. Recorded in St. Petersburg, Russia, the collaboration took on a much bigger significance with what was and is happening in Ukraine. The original piece was composed in 1914 by Ukrainian composer, Mykola Leontovych and is also known as "The Ukrainian Bell Carol." Calvin decided to release the single to raise funds for the people of Ukraine. Quoting him: “The situation is dire. We are desperately trying to get resources to those stuck in Ukraine and help as many people as we can out and to safety.”
Again quoting Calvin Jones, this time about the recording: "They were a young group and we were together in peace and unity. I am hopeful this song becomes representative of how two very different groups of people can come together through music. Here we have the Russian Orchestra playing a national song of the Ukraine. What could be more moving and powerful at this time? We may not know what our future is but we know music can unite people. I hope this song does just that.”
This arrangement of "Shchedryk (Carol of the Bells)" is big, rich and very spirited. Performed by the full orchestra with Calvin Jones on piano, it includes an amazing passage for violin and piano that sparkles and swirls, almost dancing out of the speakers!
Calvin Jones will donate 100% of the proceeds from the single to two charitable organizations that are helping victims of the Russian invasion. More information about this and other ways to donate is on Calvin's website. Downloading and/or streaming "Shchedryk (Carol of the Bells)" will generate royalties that will be donated - and you will have access to one great recording! You can stream or download on https://calvinjones.com
, Amazon and Apple Music/iTunes, and the piece is available on all of the streaming platforms.