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Discover a little bit of Russia in Kalamazoo

Nov. 3, 2006

KALAMAZOO--The Annual Kalamazoo Russian Festival will be held at Western Michigan University Friday and Saturday, Nov. 10-11.

Gala Opening Concert
Friday, Nov. 10

A gala concert opens the festival in the Dalton Center Recital Hall at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10. Headlining the concert will be internationally known domra and mandolin soloist Tamara Volskaya, with Anatoliy Trofimov on the bayan or Russian accordian. The two performers are "Honored Artists of Russia," winners of international and national competitions and professors of folk instruments at Mussorgsky Ural State Conservatory. They have toured throughout Russia, Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan and have recorded several CDs.

The Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra, a popular local ensemble under the direction of Miles Kusik, will perform a variety of Russian music with Volskaya and Trofimov.

Also performing are the Russian Cultural Centre's Russian Folk Ensemble and the Pushkin University Choir. The singing, dancing and colorful costumes of the Russian Folk Ensemble create a festive atmosphere for audiences of all ages. The ensemble is composed of performers from the Russian School, Embassy and Russian Cultural Centre in Washington, D.C. The Pushkin University Choir is a folk choral group visiting Kalamazoo from Pushkin, Russia, for the first time.

Kalamazoo Russian Festival
Saturday, Nov. 11

The festival continues Saturday at WMU's Fetzer Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with activities for the entire family. Throughout the day, there will be performances by musicians and dancers, exhibits of Russian artwork and Russian food for sale at lunchtime. A Russian marketplace will be available for purchasing Russian arts and crafts.

Author and educator Dr. Patty Rice will give a lecture on "The Golden Age of Amber and the Mystery of the Amber Room." Her extensive amber collection has received numerous trophies and first-place awards in mineral shows throughout the United States and Canada. She traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia, to see the famous amber room at St. Catherine's Palace in 1987 and again in 2003 to see it after restoration. As a popular amber lecturer, she has authored many articles in professional gem and mineral journals. Rice received her doctorate from Michigan State University.

Other lecturers include Judith Rypma speaking on "Baba Yaga: Goddess, Benevolent Crone or Wicked Witch" and Scott Friesner presenting "Dostoevsky's Underground Man." Rypma and Friesner are both members of the WMU English faculty.

For those interested in international adoption information, there will be an open forum on Russian adoptions.

Especially for children, Western Michigan University students will offer two dramatic presentations based on Russian fairytales; "Vasilissa, Baba Yaga and the Golden Thread" and "The Firebird, the Horse of Power and Tsarevna Vasilissa". There will be craft activities available and the Kalamazoo International Dancers will perform and teach Russian folk dances to dancers and non dancers of all ages.

Tickets and information

Tickets for the Friday concert are $15 for adults and $5 for students and include free entry to the Saturday Festival. Tickets for the Saturday festival are $8 for adults, $4 for youth 13 and older, and $2 for children 12 and under.

The Kalamazoo Russian Festival is sponsored by the Kalamazoo-Pushkin Partnership and by several several offices and academic departments of Western Michigan University, which serves as the annual home for the festival.

For program event times and general festival information visit www.russianfestival.org or call (269) 665-9554 for ticket information.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400