Don Cossack Chorus and Dancers

California State University-Chico / November 3, 1960

(photographs and text by Francis Bayles)

"Dancing and singing their way through five continents, the Don Cossack Chorus and Dancers made their appearance under the sponsorship of the

Associated Students of Chico State on November 3, 1960 in the college auditorium. The group, now all United States citizens, was founded in 1927

by White Russian refugees, and have acquired an enviable artistic reputation all over the world. They are committed to the task of preserving

and acquainting the world with the traditional arts of their one time native land, and with their singing of music from the Orthodox Church

and Russian folk songs and Cossack dances they succeed admirably in recalling the atmosphere of Russia long ago.

One of the most amazing qualities of their choral work is their skill in providing appropriate backdrops for songs in a variety of moods, from the

most solemn to madcap gaiety. They can suggest the sound of church bells, passing soldiers or strumming guitars, as the theme of the song suggests.

They can even supply the mad, swirling rhythms of the Caucasian dance Lezginka. Originating in Prague, the capital of Czechoslovakia, the

chorus has been headed ever since by Mr. Nicholas Kostrukoff, who has acted simultaneously as chorus leader and administrator. Talking to this man

during intermission was more interesting than the actual performance. Although suffering from a bad cold, he still revealed an interesting personality.

Mr. Kostrukoff remembers coming to Chico State five or six years ago. Listening to the places his concerts have taken him almost makes Marco Polo

seem like a back yard adventurer. He stated the group now has sixteen long-play records on the market to further preserve their folk music. Most of

the members live in New York and are on the road nine weeks at a time. The photos here were taken during the actual performance."

(Backstage shot of the stage manager's phone stand, from where the entire performance is run.)

(This report was made as an assignment for a college class in music appreciation by my brother, Francis Bayles, when he was a student at Chico State

in 1960. Five years later, in August of 1965, he would be killed in a plane crash while taking aerial photographs over Red Bluff, CA.)

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