Russian American Colony Singers delight folk music fans

Posted: Tuesday, November 28, 2006


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  Pavel Sharomov of Novosibirsk, conducts the Russian American Colony Singers at KCHS auditorium.

Pavel Sharomov of Novosibirsk, conducts the Russian American Colony Singers at KCHS auditorium.

A group of Russian and Alaskan singers delighted an audience of several hundred last week at Renee C. Henderson Auditorium in Kenai last week with their performance of “The World of Folk.” Known as the Russian American Colony Singers, the group is headquartered in Anchorage and Eagle River, Alaska and was conducted by Pavel Sharomov of Novosibirsk. The concert of traditional Russian and international folk music also featured Elena Zabarskaya from Novosibirsk. The ensemble included 20 singers of Russian American descent that performed a repertoire that ranged from Classical Russian and Polish folk songs, to traditional Hispanic Christmas carols and even a medley from J. Bock’s “Fiddler on the Roof.” The multi-cultural group was arrayed in traditional hand made Russian costumes that were made by the artists themselves.


A trio from the Russian American Colony Singers present a Russian Folk Song during their concert at KCHS auditorium.

The concert was organized and emceed by Marion Yapuncich a new assistant professor at Kenai Peninsula College. She saw an opportunity to highlight Russian culture on the Kenai as part of the community involvement, “The Russian American Colony Singers is actually based on the connection between Alaska and Russia that has developed through the clubs of Rotary International. Many of the performers actually met through Rotary which has helped in sponsoring this event,” said Yapuncich. Yapuncich’s own background is Yugoslavian American, which givers her a personal interest in Slavic culture. She spent part of her summer as a tour guide at the Transfiguration of Our Lord Russian Orthodox church in Ninilchik.

The audience had an opportunity to join in the cultural experience as conductor Sharomov led everyone in a rousing rendition of “Those Were the Days, My Friend.”


The son of one of the Russian American Colony Singers sings a beautiful solo during the concert at KCHS auditorium.

Zlata Lund of Magadan, Russia has been with the group since its inception ten years ago, “When we came to Alaska ten years ago, being singers we wanted to be able to continue singing and at an Eagle River Rotary Club fund raiser to buy medical supplies for Magadan it was suggested that we put together a concert, so we gathered other singers of the Russian language and we put together our first concert and people responded very kindly. It was a successful fund raiser and we grew from the first group of eight singers to the twenty that we have now and this is our fifth year singing and our anniversary,” said Lund. The group is looking forward to touring Russia in the future and has been invited to participate in a music festival in Novosibirsk next June. “It’s our dream and we are working hard to meet this goal of going to Russia to sing,” added Lund. For more information about the Russian American Colony Singers go to

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