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The Massenkoff Russian Folk Festival, an ensemble that features Russian Cossack dancers and balalaika musicians, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 [Wednesday] in the Ataloa Theatre in the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center at East Central University.

 The ensemble, led and founded by Nikolai Massenkoff, has been praised for their unmatched performances and their ability to tell the stories of folk music, culture and tradition through their dances and music.

 Many of the songs performed originate from the Tsarist Russian era, and are well known folk songs and Gypsy songs that speak of disappointment, the joy of love, the devastation caused by jealousy and the pain of a broken heart.

 Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for senior citizens, ECU students and children under 12. Advance tickets may be purchased at the information desk in the University Center or by contacting Dr. Mara Sukholutskaya at 580-559-5293. Tickets will also be available for purchase the night of the show at the ticket booth in the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center.

 Massenkoff and his company have performed in over 38 states and seven countries, from New York's Carnegie Hall to major performing arts centers, colleges and universities throughout the United States and abroad. Engagements include an appearance at the Opening Ceremonies of the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea, performances at Disney World's Epcot Center in Florida and as featured artist with a number of orchestras including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

 Massenkoff has performed on stage with Liberace, Dinah Shore, Jerry Lewis, Glen Campbell, Ray Charles, Bob Hope, Brooke Shields and Julio Iglesias, and in television programs broadcast from the MGM Grand Hotel and the Las Vegas Hilton, plus movies with Robin Williams and Demi Moore.

 Massenkoff was born in the White Russian community in Shanghai, China. At the age of three he was placed in St. Tichon’s Orphanage. It was there he had his first musical experience of singing and chanting. He went on to dedicate himself to music, drama and speech.

 Massenkoff performed in 2003 at Pushkin Museum in Moscow where he was honored as the “Singer of the Day,” along with other prominent Russians around the world. In 2007, he was named the “laureate” of the First International Festival of Russian Song.

 For more information about the concert, contact Dr. Mara Sukholutskaya, 580-559-5293, or visit The concert is part of the Scissortail Arts Series and sponsored in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council.

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