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Soviet Children Arrive For U.S. Visit

May 20, 1986

SEATTLE (AP) _ Two dozen Soviet youngsters visiting Seattle on their way to Expo 86 in Canada were greeted Tuesday by a jazz ensemble playing ″Mack the Knife″ and reciprocated by singing and dancing a Russian song.

″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 children, members of the world renowned Soviet television and radio Children’s Chorus, will be staying with American families during their four- day visit.

The group departs for Expo 86 in Vancouver, British Columbia on Sunday.

Besides sightseeing and attending Seattle’s popular Folk Life Festival, the chorus will perform in concert Thursday night.

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 staff member with the chorus.

″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 were greeted loudly and warmly by American youngsters and adults. The children were escorted through the airport and 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.

Popov noted it was 1 a.m. at his home.

″It is deep in the night, but we feel it is early morning (because of the warm greeting),″ he said. ″I believe that love at first sight is most durable, and I hope our friendship shall be durable.″

The visiting children danced as they sang ″Garden in the Yard,″ a Russian song, accompanied by an accordion.

Two girls who met the children were members of Storytellers for Peace who had visited the Soviet Union.

The Soviet children are between 12 and 16 years old, and are part of the 500-member choir directed by Victor Popov. Gabyshev said the children had traveled extensively in Western Europe and Japan, but this trip was the first to North America.

The children’s chorus is scheduled to return to the Soviet Union June 5 after performing at the world’s fair and traveling to eastern Canada. No other stops were planned in the United States.

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