Coming back to a rainy Coventry seemed a breeze for Chapelfields resident, Carol Brown, who braved temperatures of -20ºC in Moscow on route back to the UK. Carol, who was in Volgograd at the time of a series of terrorist bombings, has been putting the finishing touches to a musical programme between young musicians from Coventry and Volgograd. Carol told ECHO “The recent atrocities in Volgograd remind us of who our friends are and what they mean to us. For over 70 years now Volgograd and Coventry have been friends. A friendship that emerged from another horrendous time when 900 women from Coventry who had survived the Blitz sent messages of support to the women who had survived the Battle of Stalingrad, embroidered on a tablecloth.”
In April 2014 the Volgograd Children’s Symphony Orchestra will be coming to Coventry to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the formalisation of this friendship into what has become the start of the Twin City movement that criss-crosses the world. 70 years after their grandmothers, great grandmothers and aunts made contact the children of the two cities will be meeting, talking, listening and playing music together.
Carol added “The reason for my visit was to make sure all was going to plan for the visit of the young musicians in April. Continuing and strengthening this bond of friendship between Young Volgograd and Young Coventry provides an opportunity for people from both cities to celebrate the friendship through music played by our young people.”
Five days of events and activities will culminate in concerts at Coventry Cathedral on Friday 4 April and at the CBSO Centre in Birmingham on Saturday 5 April.
Carol added “We have been given some amazing support from VTB Bank, the Regional Governor and Rotary International in Volgograd and by the Lord Mayor, Performing Services Team, Coventry University, CBSO, CAIF, Coventry Rotary Club and Coventry Cathedral.”
Yuri Ilynov, Conductor of the Volgograd Children’s Symphony Orchestra, said “We have been touched by the interest and support from Coventry during our recent losses. The cities’ links emerged from troubled times and we are looking forward to being in Coventry to demonstrate how strong this friendship still is today.” Victor Kiyashko, Director of Volgograd Philharmonia, added “We are very proud of the achievements of the Children’s Orchestra and their conductor Yuri Ilynov and the role of ambassadors of our city. This will be a great opportunity for them to meet young musicians and students in Coventry and develop their own friendships.”
2014 is the year of Russian and UK Culture and both Coventry and Birmingham will be in for a treat to meet and see some exciting young talent from Russia and their own cities. Carol is looking for financial assistance to support this, concluding “We still need to raise some money for the Coventry Programme. If anyone can help us either through sponsorship or a donation, then please get in touch with me by email.“