Edmonton Journal: Cheremosh, Cantilon Choir win top prizes in Europe

Fish Griwkowsky, Edmonton Journal
Published: Tuesday, July 19 2011
It’s hard to spring much higher – on Sunday Edmonton Ukrainian dance troupe Cheremosh won top prize at Euro Fest 2011 in Nessebar, Bulgaria.
Twirling and posing in boots and flowers against hundreds of dancers from across Europe, Cheremosh – the only North American participant – took home the Grand Prix Golden Orheus plaque and the rather muscular title Absolute European Champion of Folklore for 2011. Company artistic director Mykola Kanevets also gets to hang up an awarded diploma, naming him Maestro Academic. He’s been with the organization for 20 years.

Dancer Marcus Karpoff announced on the Cheremosh blog: “It felt great to be recognized for the work that we have done. As I look back I am forced to see all of our successes and failures. I realize that if not for the senior dancers who push me and inspire me to improve, I would not be able to show the audience my passion for Ukrainian dance. I have also realized that if not for Mykola, we would not be able to go on stage and show true Ukrainian dance, regardless of injury or illness. He is prepared for anything and has solutions for problems that don’t even exist yet.

“The award that we received is a testament to all the work that these people have done.”

The troupe performed in the European-televised, July 6-19 festival along the Black Sea at sites in Sunny Beach, Burges and Nessebar, including a recurring closing number called Edmonton Hopak.

The city’s weathered Champions label was further brightened in Wales at the Eisteddfod International Music Festival in Llangollen recently. The local Cantilon Chamber Choir took first place in the youth and folk song choirs categories.

Aanchel Gupta, 13, also took first place in the folk solo competition. Her performance, and others, are online at llangollen.tv.

The festival ran July 4-10, and saw competitors from all over the planet, including Russia, the Philippines and Taiwan.

Cantilon Choirs was founded in 1999 by artistic director Heather Johnson, with participation from singers from the Edmonton area, regardless of age, ability or financial limitations.