[ARCHIVED NEWS] Friday, May 4, 2007


Johnstown, Pa – The St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Johnstown, PA had the opportunity to share with the Orthodox faithful of the area, the angelic sounds of spiritual singing and folk music as performed by the "VALANS" youth choir from Valaam Island in Northwestern Russia. On Wednesday, May 2, 2007, the youth choir visited our area and brought with them the sound of voices blending in a beautiful and inspiring way.

Valaam Island is well known by Valaam Monastery. From that monastery came first monk to American continent to spread Orthodoxy. Today that island is known in Johnstown also by youth choir who had opportunity to perform small concert in church of spiritual singing, and in church hall by folk music.

Valaam Island has three hundred inhabitants, from that number thirty six are children. From those thirty six children four of them came to Eastern America to show their talents of singing. Everyone (attendants 150) were glad and surprised with they talents.

If you closed your eyes, you would have imagined many children but in reality, there were only four in this group. The adult director also joined in the singing. It was a honor to have them visit our area and for our parish family to serve as host. These children speak no English but were accompanied by an interpreter/announcer. They also have a driver who joins them in a vocal selection and accompanied the violinists with their presentations.

The evening was full of enjoyment for everyone, young and old. The singers range in age from 11 to 18 and each one is special. Each had an individual part of some number that let them shine in their own way. It was very easy to become captivated by the beautiful sound of their voices. The violinists were outstanding. A great deal of discipline must be involved to have a group perform in such an outstanding manner.

We are very grateful to God for the beautiful evening and to the "Valans" youth choir for making it a success. We hope that we will all meet again and share more evenings feeding our soul with the angelic sounds of "Valans". If you have the opportunity to hear these children in concert - make an effort to do so - you will not be disappointed.