The General Jonas Zemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania (MAL) Men’s Choir KARIUNAS (Engl. CADET) was established in 1995. It comprises only MAL cadets. There is also the Academy‘s Cadets’ Vocal Ensemble, formed from the singers of KARIUNAS. The ensemble prepares a separate programme from that of the choir.
KARIUNAS and the Acamdemy’s vocal ensemble are the Laureates of the Lithuanian Military Song Contest ‘Dainuokime, Kariai’ (‘Let’s Sing, Soldiers’) (1998, 2000, and 2005). During the 4th and 5th International Youth Choir Contest ‘Dainu Versme’ (‘The Spring of Songs’) they were awarded the 2nd order diplomas (2000 and 2003). During the National Soloist and Vocal Ensemble Contest ‘Sidabriniai Balsai’ (‘The Silver Voices’) the Academy’s vocal ensemble was granted the name of the Best Men’s Ensemble 2001. The same year the choir KARIUNAS and its vocal ensemble were granted the name of the Best Debutant and won ‘Aukso Paukste Award’ (Golden Warbler Award). During the National Choir Contest 2002 KARIUNAS became the 1st Prize Winner.
KARIUNAS has successfully performed at the National Defence Academy of Latvia (2002), Lithuanian communities in Cleveland and Chicago, USA (2004), and at the 26th Jaeger Battalion in the city of Spittal an der Drau, Austria (2004). Also, together with the Lithuanian Armed Forces’ Honour Guard Band, it performed during the event in Riga, ‘Military Cooperation of the Baltic States’ (2007).
In 2005 KARIUNAS and its vocal ensemble held a grand and delightful 10th Anniversary Concert at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic, performing together with the choir’s veteran singers, the Lithuanian Armed Forces’ Honour Guard Orchestra, the grand opera soloists of Lithuania, Judita Leitaite and Vytautas Juozapaitis, Vilnius University Women’s Choir VIRGO and Siauliai University Women’s Choir PAVASARIS (SPRING). That concert was recorded by the Lithuanian Radio and Television.
Since 1998 KARIUNAS has participated in all Lithuanian Song Festivals and student choir festivals. The choir and its vocal ensemble have performed, with great acclaim, in Lithuanian cities, towns, and villages, gymnasiums (advanced study programme secondary schools), military units, representational state events. Also, the choir contributes to chanting during the Mass in Lithuanian churches and during the Lithuanian military pilgrimage tours in Šiluva.
KARIUNAS and its vocal ensemble have recorded two CDs.
The founder and conducter of the choir KARIUNAS is Vytautas Verseckas. He graduated from the Lithuanian State Conservatoire (the present Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre) in 1977, receiving Choir Conductor qualification. He has conducted most of the Lithuanian choirs and vocal ensembles that are known as the First Prize Winners of various song contests. Since 1994 Vytautas Verseckas has been also heading the Mixed Choir of the Lithuania Academy of Sciences. He has been the Chief Conductor of the Regional Song Festivals in Jurbark (1965) and Utena (1970), Conductor of the 9th Gaudeamus, a Baltic States Student Song Festival in Tartu, Estonia (1984) and the Regional Song Festival of Nordic and Baltic States in Smiltene, Latvia (1995).
Vytautas Verseckas has been the Conductor of the World Lithuanian Song Festival in Vilnius (2003), entitled ‘Mes’ (‘We’), Lithuanian Song Festival in Kaunas (2004), dedicated to the 80th Anniversary of Lithuanian Song Festivals, Lithuanian Song Festival 2007 in Vilnius ‘Buties Ratu’ (‘In the Circle of Being’). He is awarded the Name of a Distinguished Man of Lithuanian Culture (1984); and he is a holder of the Lithuanian National Defence System Medal for Merits (2005).
Vytautas Abaris is the choirmaster-concertmaster of the choir KARIUNAS. He graduated from the Lithuanian State Conservatoire (the present Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre) in 1979, receiving Choir Conductor qualification. He is acknowledged as one of the best concertmasters of choirs and vocal ensembles of Lithuania. In the period from 1984 till 1993 he successfully directed the meritorious Vilnius University Student Song and Dance Ensemble’s Choir. Since 1993 Vytautas Abaris has been a teacher of music and supervisor at the Second Child Music School in Vilnius. He has also been a Conductor of the Gaudeamus (1988), the Baltic States Student Song Festival, and the Conductor of the Ensemble Evening of the Lithuanian National Song Festival (1990).