The Church Choral Society “Branko” was founded on September 1st, 1887 as the choir of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in the city of Nis. The choir is named after the famous poet of Serbian Romanticism, Branko Radicevic. For the last 135 years, the choir has been concelebrating incessantly with the Bishops and clergy of the Cathedral in Nis.
From the long and tumultuous history that Choir “Branko” has had we must especially highlight the choir’s performances, which promoted the gloriousness of Serbian choral music, all over the Balkans between two World Wars. During the same period, the choir became the holder of the Ordain of St. Sava in the 3rd degree and they were also awarded the Ducats of King Alexander Karadjordjevic and the Societal Flag of King Peter II Karadjordjevic. After the II World War, Choir “Branko” shared the same catacomb i.e. underground fate as the Serbian Orthodox Church as it stood on the outskirts of social life for more than 40 years, but never stopping to serve its primary purpose – singing in church services.
Though the Choir has made no pauses and has sung in continuance since their founding till today, it’s revitalization came about in the 1990’s when Mrs. Sara Cincarevic became the conductor. In the last 30 years the choir has performed in Germany, Greece, Italy, Austria, Belorussia, Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Republic of Serbia, Great Britainy, Luxemburg, Belgium, Poland, France, the Czech Republic, the USA, Canada and Israel. They have participated in many international festivals and have received many awards, some of them being: International Festival of Orthodox Chanting, Minsk, Belarussia, where they were awarded 1st place and Grand Prix, “Hajnowka’s Church Music Days”, Hajnowka, Poland, where they were awarded Grand Prix, Days of Mokranjac, Negotin, Serbia, where they also won 1st place. Choir “Branko” also represented their Serbian spiritual music at the Multicultural Festivals in Rothenberg and Marktoberdorf, Germany.
Choir “Branko” has had the blessing to sing at the enthronements of two Serbian Patriarchs in Peć – one of which wat Patriarch Paul and the other being the current Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, his Holiness Patriarch Irinej. The choir also holds the Ordain of St. Sava in the 1st and 2nd degree, the Ordain of St. Ap. Paul, given in name of the Greek Orthodox Church, and the Ordain of St. Emperor Constantine. Since 2009, the Church Choral Society “Branko” has been the organizer of the festival of spiritual music – the “Music Edict” festival in Nis, in which there have been more there 100 participants from many different countries all around the world. Choir “Branko” has twice been the guest of the Chapel Choir “Glinka” and its celebrated conductor Vladislav Cernusenko; the last time being in April of 2012 when choir “Branko” held an evening concert in Glinka’s chapel.
As part of the celebration of the jubilee of 1700 years of the Edict of Milan, Choir “Branko” sang at the central celebration of the liturgy in Nis on the 6th of October 2013 in which the four Orthodox Patriarchs and representatives of all other Orthodox Churches served. In December of 2015 the choir held an all-evening concert in Istanbul organized by The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople for the guests of and His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople in honor of the celebration of their Patriarchate. In 2017, the Choir performed in Moscow (at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory) and in Belgorod, Russia. In August of 2018, the Choir participated in the XIX Festival “Mundial de Coros” in Puebla, Mexico as the only representatives from Europe.