In August 2023 a peer-to-peer training was organized between Ruben Tolmachev (Ukraine) and the united Lithuanian children choir (4 choirs, 40 singers, 4 teachers). In this exchange the following choirs participated: Vilnius children’s choir Ugnelė, conductor Valerija Skapienė, Klaipėda opera studio choir, conductor Vytautas Valys, Šiauliai gymnasium choir “Melodija”, conductor Loreta Mikutienė, Kėdainiai gymnasium youth choir, conductor Žydrė Vancevičienė.

The Ukrainian conductor Ruben Tolamchev was invited to work with the group of choirs, which consisted of 4 choirs and 40 singers. In the rehearsals Ruben worked together with his wife Alena. She works with girls’ choirs at home and is an excellent vocal couch. Their work together brought a really great results of the choir.

Ruben worked on a programme of 4 pieces, which included Ukrainian composers, and his own arrangements of popular music. Also, he gave a lecture for teachers about choir repertoire of Ukrainian composers for children choirs.

The peer to peer started on 8th of August, Ruben worked with the group for 4 days and at the end of the session the results was presented at the concert in Birštonas culture center.

Ruben work with choirs and teachers brought us not only the musical aspects, and interpretation of music, but also an example of how to keep the cultural activity and how choral music helps during the difficult times. For him it was a valuable opportunity to leave his country during war times and be able to work in an international context.

One of the participating choirs in this atelier was the children’s choir “Ugnelė” and one of their singers said: “The conductor brought a new program for us and the work is very interactive and interesting, we learned new songs and Ukrainian language”.

Thank you, European Choral Association for the support and opportunity to bring Ruben Tolmachev to Lithuania.

The application and report were made by the public entity “Cantates” and its director Silvija Pročkytė, so that they could refund the conductor in cash since bank transfers to Ukraine are complicated and very expensive.

Ruben Tolmachev