My summer in Chita: 8. Petrovsk-Zabaikalsky 3rd of 4

My summer in Chita: 8. Petrovsk-Zabaikalsky 3rd of 4


And then we went to the concert.

concert poster in Russian
The poster: “25 June, 1pm, the Palace of Culture and Sport invites everyone in town to a festive concert with participants in the TV show “You’re Super!” and pianist-composer Thomas Dickinson of Minnesota. Tickets: 100 rubles (~$1.70)  All monies go to the Children’s Center ‘Unity’.”
three children singing on stage
Zoya, Anna and Vitaly sing for the town in a concert honoring their remarkable success in the national TV singing contest, “You’re Super!” (screen capture from a video)

Background: Three children from the Children’s Center, Zoya (12) and Anna (16) Chizhkova and Vitaly Tolochkin (10), auditioned into this new national TV singing contest show.  Anna was eliminated in the quarter-finals, but in the end Vitaly took 2nd and Zoya, while not making it past the final round, received two accolades. The emcee is also a producer and was allowed to use his discretion to add people to the final concert, and he chose, exclusively, Zoya.  Also, she won the national Audience Favorite vote.  All children in the show were brought to Moscow at the show’s expense for the duration, and there they went to school while being trained in singing and showmanship.  The three were in Moscow for six months.

packed audience in a hall
A packed audience in the Culture Palace, a well-restored example of Soviet public architecture.

At 1pm Sunday at the Culture Palace of Petrovsk-Zabaikalsky, the Dept of Culture and Sport mounted a show honoring the three.  (The Culture Palace is a handsome example of Soviet architecture.  It has a grand feeling.  Deep bas-relief panels cover the walls.  Profiles of Marx and Lenin are high up on both sides of the stage.  It has been restored well.) Besides video highlights from the months long contest, Vitaly’s sister, Tanya, mentioned in the 1st of 4 Petrovsk-Zabaikalsky posts (Vitaly’s real last name is Kolodeznikov, but he took his stepfather’s name as stage name) sang, another Children’s Center alumna, Vicka, who has a pop career based in Ulan Ude sang, the head of the Dept of Culture sang, and the gymnastic boys and the breakdancing girls of the Children’s Center presented as well.  I was asked to play too, and was given the opportunity to mention how much we have enjoyed the successes of these children and our association with the Children’s Center.  It was a benefit for the Children’s Center and they cleared 45,000 rubles, of which they gave the Culture Palace 15,000 rubles.  The Culture Palace has given them a standing invitation to present in the facility.

boys onstage doing gymastics
Boys from the Children’s Center perform amazing feats!
group photo after a concert
Anna, Zoya and Vitaly with Director Natalia Nikolaevna and the crew from Chita. From left: Anna Chizhkova, Elena Kulakovskaya, Olga Fleshler, Vitaly Tolochkin, Vitaly Pishchersky (the big guy!), Victor Kulakovsky, Zoya Chizhkova, Ivan Nikolaevich (local volunteer), Natalia Nikolaevna, Director, Olga, Tom, Vova’s Olga, Elena Pishcherskya, Vova.  We’re doing the “You’re Super!” show’s thumbs up sign.

We learned later that some surrounding towns have now asked the three to come and sing for them.   These positive feelings toward the Children’s Center are a wonderful thing.  All too often, Children’s Centers are viewed by their towns as sources of the bad element in society, and there can be some justification for this view.  So when the two can find common cause, here the pride in local kids making good, and the thrill of really good entertainment, it has to be considered a positive development.  Kudos to the kids!  to the Center’s Director!  and to the Dept of Culture and Sports!

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