They dress in long cassocks and look like monks in the throes of their devotions. No flashy stage antics here — the sober 12-member Russian Patriarchate Choir is the only vocal ensemble authorized to officially represent the Moscow Patriarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church, and do they ever do their job. Formed by courageous and dedicated singer/scholars during the latter part of the Soviet regime, the choir spent years unearthing and decoding sacred manuscripts, despite government censure of sacred music, and gave the first performances of works that had been buried for centuries. Today, they are at the forefront of the exciting renaissance that’s at last bringing this rich vocal tradition to the world’s attention. Led by Anatoly Grindenko, the all-male a cappella ensemble demonstrates its “expressive and visceral sound” and vocal range in its Royce Hall debut program that runs the glorious gamut from medieval chant and 16th- to 19th-century church music to Russian folk songs both melancholy and ebullient. UCLA, Royce Hall; Mon., Oct. 22, 8 p.m.; $24-$46. (310) 825-2101, www.uclalive.org.
—Mary Beth Crain
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