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Soviet Children Arrive For U.S. Visit

May 21, 1986

SEATTLE (AP) _ Members of a world-renowned Soviet children’s chorus were greeted with a rendition of ″Mack the Knife″ by a school jazz band as they arrived in Seattle for their only U.S. stop on a North American tour.

The two dozen visitors of the Gostelradio Children’s Chorus reciprocated by dancing and singing a Russian song.

The children, between 12 and 16 years old, will stay with area families during their four-day visit. They will do some sightseeing, attend Seattle’s annual Folk Life Festival and perform in concert Thursday.

From Seattle, the chorus goes to Expo 86 in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Sunday. They also will travel to eastern Canada before returning to the Soviet Union on June 5.

″I think the visit will be pleasant,″ said Olga Tereykovskya, 14, of Moscow. ″The beginning of this visit was beautiful and the last of the visit will be very well.″

The visit to Seattle was arranged after a Seattle-area group, Young Storytellers for Peace, visited the Soviet Union in March, said Vladimir Gabyshev, a senior staff member with Gostelradio.

″Since we had made friends in Moscow, we decided to drop in for a few days,″ said Gabyshev, who was greeted by Michale Gabriel, founder and director of Young Storytellers for Peace.

The Soviet children are part of the 500-person chorus directed by Victor Popov. Gabyshev said the children had traveled extensively in Western Europe and Japan, but this trip was their first to North America.

After passing through Customs, the Soviet children were greeted loudly and warmly by American youngsters and adults. The children, who had flown 14 hours from Moscow, smiled but seemed shy at the boisterous greeting and the glare of television camera lights.

They were escorted through the airport by an inquisitive crowd and were taken to a small, windowless room where the Kirkland Junior High School jazz ensemble belted out ″Mack the Knife.″

Ms. Gabriel, in welcoming the Soviets, said she was pleased that the American storyteller group had the opportunity to so quickly repay the favors done for them in the Soviet Union.

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