This is a unique ensemble. Several Cossack generations have grown up to its songs and dances. It will be recalled that the chorus celebrated its bicentennial in November 2011. And this year marks another anniversary: the artistic director of the Cuban Cossack Chorus Viktor Zakharchenko turned 75 on March 22. The oldest Russian ensemble marks this date with a tour. The performers have come to Kyiv from Minsk. Their concert in Belarusian capital was a full-house, according to the chair of the society “Ukrainians of Kuban” Mykola Serhiienko. A surprise awaited the audience in the end of the soiree. Mr. Zakharchenko used to be a skillful harmonist in his youth, but has not played this instrument for while. Not only did the hero of the evening recall his long-drawn hobby, but he also won the audience with virtuoso performing of a potpourri of famous melodies.
Mykola Serhiienko said that “the chorus prepared a special program for the Ukrainian audience.” [Fortunately, their repertoire is huge! Apart from folk songs, Zakharchenko, who authors over 600 music pieces based on verse of Russian and Ukrainian classical and modern poets, has made over 1,000 arrangements of folk songs and rites, which he recorded in Kuban and Siberia, thus preserving them for the descendants. – Author] One day Yaryna Chaika came up to the maestro after a concert and presented him with her poem which had the line ‘August stars are falling…’ and soon Zakharchenko wrote music to her verse. The song will be performed for the first time in the Ukraina Palace. We are looking for the author to invite her to the soiree. The choristers sing about freedom, love, and departure. Many of the songs performed on stage are over 200 years old. Namely for this period has the Kuban Cossack Chorus existed since it was founded in the early 19th century in Yekaterinodar. History could be learned from the Cossack chorus’s songs, and ethnography – from its costumes: all the details are executed with museum accuracy. The concert program includes not only old-time songs, but also new ones, which are still composed in Cossack villages. For the chronicle of the Cossacks is not over – it is still being written in Kuban.”
The audiences in Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava, Kremenchuk, Cherkasy, Kirovohrad, Mykolaiv, Odesa, and Simferopol will hear the performances of Cossack Chorus this year. The Ukrainian tour involved 120 people (the choristers, musicians, dancers, and administration employees). To be more mobile, the performers will go on six buses – the ensemble will cover 10,000 kilometers before coming back to Krasnodar.