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When the Russian choir ‘Voskresenije’ put on a concert last year at Girvan Methodist Church, they were welcomed by a packed church and an enthusiastic hope that they would come back next year.  Well, they are, and the programme will also include Maybole this time.

Sponsored by the South Ayrshire Team of the Scottish Episcopal Church, they will put on a concert on Wednesday 26th October 7.30pm at St Oswald’s, Cargill Road, Maybole, and on Friday 28th October 7.30pm at Girvan Methodist Church (St John’s Episcopal).

The small choir of eight singers with their conductor Jurij Maruk are from St. Petersburg in Russia.  The Carrick events are part of a UK tour.  All members of the choir are professional singers, trained at the St Petersburg Conservatory of Music.  The concert will be in two parts: the first half will concentrate on sacred music from the Russian Orthodox tradition, mainly by Rachmaninov. This will be a spectacular sound, the harmonies of which are unique to Russian music.  The second half will be Russian folk songs, which will allow each of the performers to provide a solo, ranging from soprano to basso-profundo, where Anatoly Artamonov will display an extraordinary range of bass notes that few even in the world of Russian choral music can attain.

Two years ago the choir visited Culzean Castle whilst they were in the local area and gave an impromptu performance on the oval staircase.  This resulted in an instant booking to include Culzean in their 2010 tour. 

The area around Girvan has links with Russia. In 1920 the cruiser ‘Varyag’ which fought in the Russian-Japanese war in 1904 hit the rocks off Lendalfoot where it sank. Now the wreckage lies beneath the sea. For years Russian divers have been trying to salvage parts of it but they say very little remains. But what has been salvaged is on display in Russia.

In 2007, a memorial was unveiled at Lendalfoot in a ceremony attended by senior Russian politicians, navy officers and veterans. The locals are proud of their Russian connection. “It’s a symbol now to the people of this area of what is Russia and of those who fought in the 1904 war,” said Provost Winifred Sloan at the unveiling.

The concerts begins at 7.30pm with a 20 minute interval during which refreshments will be served.  Tickets are £5 payable at the door.