Performing Musician & Teaching Artist
Hocking County Children’s Chorus
Hocking County Children’s Chorus “Summer Arts Experience”- an Ohio Arts Council Arts Residency.
In 2010, I spent three weeks living and working with 75 children (ages 8 – 21) from the Hocking County Children’s Chorus. For the three core groups, activities consisted of learning Russian folk songs, dances, tales as well as Dalcroze Eurhythmics games to enhance listening skills and develop musicality. Each age group had different material; all core and peripheral groups learned the same two songs and dances in preparation for the final performance.
The peripheral group consisted of adults from the community, including board members of Bowen House and staff for the “Summer Arts Experience” Camp. The idea was to have an adult chorus. We sang and danced together, learned about Russian culture by listening to music, showing the instruments, talking about our camp activities and aims.
The culminating activity included a Russian “bazaar” with Russian foods, an exhibit of the children’s art projects (Matryoshka dolls, floral motifs, scenery for the theater). Parents and members of the community were invited to performances of 3 different plays based on Russian “skazki” (folk tales) into which were incorporated all the songs and dances of the residency. For the finale, Russian Duo performed a concert which included all the residency participants.
The children had an unexpected bonus. The second week, my partner Oleg Kruglyakov, was there to rehearse with me. While I was teaching he practiced balalaika and composed. He talked with the children about his life in Soviet Russia, showed and translated for them Russian folk tales on YouTube. They watched a Soviet version of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf.” He was very helpful to the theater teacher, demonstrating Russian gestures, idioms, practices. He helped the children pronounce Russian words and names of famous people, and shared about Russian people, history and culture.