Monday, June 22, 2009

White Nights Festival

Tim and I stopped by the 2nd annual Russian Festival that was held this weekend downtown. I read about it in the Empire last year but never made it so I was happy to see that they were having another event this summer. I wanted to see the New Archangel Dancers on my last two visits to Sitka but never had the opportunity. So this was a bonus because we also had the opportunity to see some other dance groups as well as a few small groups perform and/or sing some Russian folk tunes. Due to a longer than expected walk at the airport dike, we arrived a bit late but we did watch the Kodiak Russian Players (a 5-piece group with accordion, a several Balalaikas, and vocals. We watched the New Archangel Dancers perform about 5 dances and pianists Svetlana Velichko and her great niece, Elena Smirnova perform together and separately. I just love to watch 4 hands on a piano. I purchased a music book for 4-handed piano and Connie and I used to play when we were in high schoool. Most of the songs in it were too hard though, so we got bored after only being able to play one or two pieces.

I wasn't sure why they called it the White Nights Festival, but wikipedia told that that there is an annual arts festival in St Petersburg around solstice which showcases music and dancing. Solstice isn't celebrated the same down here in the southeast as they celebrate in the interior. It gets dark here! But the Russian influence is definitely more recognizable down here in the southeast, especially in Sitka.

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