There was a wonderful reception on Monday night (5/14/12) hosted at the Ekaterinburg History Museum in honor of the two Americans visiting the Ekaterinburg Academy of Contemporary Arts. In addition to myself teaching in Cultural Journalism, another American scholar, Constance DeVereaux arrived here last weekend from Northern Arizona University and who will teach cultural management.

It was a very exciting event as Constance and I were feted as guests of honor. The US Consul General, Michael Reinert, who gave a speech on the importance of this cultural exchange, and two of his staff, including the Deputy Press Attaché Zsofia Budai, were in attendance.

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D. Michael Reinert, US Consul General (left) and Professor Sergey Krepotov, EACA Rector (head of the institution) give presentations at the reception.

Also scheduled to be there, but absent, was the city mayor for Ekaterinburg. It was explained – and any inaccuracies are mine alone – that there had been an emergency in the mayor’s office due to the apparent firing of the governor of the Sverdlovsk Oblast (state/region) by the newly sworn in president Putin. A certificate of welcome was presented on behalf of the mayor by the academy recot, Professor Sergey Krepotov. So I can honestly say that Putin has had a direct impact on my experience here in Ekaterinburg.

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While I’m not entirely certain of everything it says, I can definitely see that it says my name in Cyrillic, and under that it says “professor Mott College” in Russian. In addition to the certificate, we received several books and also a few EACA souvenirs.

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But probably the best part of the reception for me was seeing nearly all of my students there and seeing how enthusiastically they put together their own presentation. One of my students, Aleksy, served as a very competent Master of Ceremonies, and another of my students, Maria Kozlachkova did her own fearless rendition of Chuck Berry’s hit “I Feel Good”. When I asked if she’d heard of Motown and Aretha Franklin, she shook her head. So I returned the treat the next day in class by playing Aretha’s classic “RESPECT”.

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Two other students, not from my class, also gave wonderful performances one playing the saxophone, and another young lady sang a lovely ballad. All in all, I think they were the highlight of the evening’s reception.

Here is a group photo with all of the students, me, and Constance.

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Pipe Organs in Grecian Concert Hall

So… As if the evening were not already full, I continued the night with another concert at the Ekaterinburg Philharmonic Hall for an organ concert featuring Bach on a pipe organ. Unfortunately I couldn’t make out the other composer.

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The concern hall was just gorgeous, an interesting mix of ornate Grecian columns and ornamentation and Soviet era images and symbolism. My host for the evening was Olga Balueva, an English faculty at the academy and the same lovely lady who hosted me at her sister-in-law’s dacha on Victory Day the week before. It was wonderful to share this with her this evening and I prayed for forgiveness when the occasional coughing fit left me scrambling for a cough drop from a mild cold I’d developed over the weekend.

A few photos of the hall are shared here.

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All in all, the evening was a good one and took my mind off things back home. But the next day would be my last class, and I had grading to do before heading to bed. This cinderella would soon be turning into a pumpkin for the night.

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