Krasnodar, 18 February. 0+ Today our interlocutor is Viktor Zakharchenko, Artistic Director of the Kuban Cossack Choir.
Q.: Would the Kuban land have been able to survive without the Kuban Cossack Choir?
A.: The [present-day] Kuban Cossack Choir was established in 1936 by a decree of the Soviet power. But its history has to be dated back to October 1 (or 14, according to the Gregorian calendar), 1810, when on the initiative of Archpriest Kirill Rossinsky, the Singing Choir of the Black Sea Cossack Host was founded. It was a church choir of the then Black Sea Cossacks – this is very important, a church choir whose activity scope was very broad: the singers would sing the Liturgy in the morning, the Vigils at night, and all other services. Another important fact is that also on Rossinsky’s initiative that over twenty temples were built in our region – as far as Cossacks were Orthodox people, they had to assert Orthodoxy in the Kuban region. In 1860, by Emperor Alexander II’s decree, the Kuban Line Cossack Host and the Black Sea Cossack Host were merged into one host. Now the Choir was called the Singing Choir of the Kuban Cossack Host. And what this choir sang were folk songs. By the end of the 19th century, the choir had also performed classic music: Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Arkhangelsky, Glinka, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky, and Ukrainian and Kuban Cossack folk songs. Any song that is sung by our Choir reflects a Cossack’s fate. Everyone must know that there is no Fatherland without faith, there is no family without Fatherland, and there is no song without a family. I am confident that the present-day Kuban Cossack Choir must not go back on its initial assignment.
Q.: Is this why spectators cry at the Choir’s concerts?
A.: They do not merely cry – they get benumbed. What does the Kuban Cossack Choir sing about? The main thing is not the voices, or costumes, or music. ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ Many people would consider it odd – but our Choir is a spiritual sanctuary. It is a heritage of entire Russia, not just the Kuban land!
Q.: You often perform on the stage of the Kremlin Palace of Congresses. Is the metropolitan audience different?
A.: When we arrived there for the first time over ten years ago, we were asked where our audio records were. I told them: ‘What kind of records are you talking about? We always sing live! What we need are just microphones.’ Then Iosif Kobzon came to the rescue – and we did sing live. After our performances, I was offered to take part in joint music projects with our popstars, but I politely declined the proposal. The Choir must remain a choir. We do not need semblance of success. We serve our people and art.
Q.: Many of your former soloists when becoming popular performers preferred to leave the Choir and organise their own groups. What is your attitude to it?
A.: Normal. Each artist has a huge deposit of natural talents. What we are is a choir of soloists all of whom are genuine natural geniuses. We gathered them from all corners of the country, many of them were brought up in our Children’s School of Arts. When they gather together, it is such a huge spiritual force! They all are gifted.
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