64 members of Alexandrov army band kiiled in Tu-154 crash (VIDEO)
25 Dec, 2016 10:19
The Aleksandrov Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army © Viktor Tolochko / Sputnik
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Most of the passengers on the Tu-154 plane that crashed after take-off from Sochi were members of the world-famous Alexandrov army choir, en route to Syria to perform at the Latakia airbase. RT takes a look back at their most unforgettable performances.
The Alexandrov Ensemble, the official choir of the Russian Armed Forces, has earned a place in the music pantheon thanks to an immensely rich and varied repertoire that includes more than 2,000 numbers – from Soviet and folk songs, to famous rock ballads, including Freddie Mercury's greatest hits.
The ensemble is the brainchild of Maj. General Alexander Alexandrov, a professor from the Moscow Conservatory, who led the troupe for 18 years after setting it up in 1928.
The troupe initially consisted of only 12 people: eight singers, two dancers, an accordion player, and a reader. By 1937, it had as many as 274 people, up to 313 by 1948.
Until now composed of 186 people, the Alexandrov Ensemble gained a reputation as one of the greatest male choirs in the world.
All members of the Alexandrov Ensemble choir, except for three lead vocalists, were on board the Tu-154 plane that crashed shortly after take-off in Sochi, Vadim Ananiev, a lead vocalist from the choir, told TASS.
Ananyev told RT he woke up to a phone call alerting him to the tragedy in Sochi. “I was in shock. Couldn’t believe it. I still don’t believe it...
“Words fail me to express how I feel right now. I cannot fully comprehend what happened. My wife is crying, my children don’t understand what happened. Think we’ll probably go to a church to pray...”
Ananyev’s wife recently gave birth to their third child. He asked for permission to miss one concert to help his wife take care of their newborn child.
“Should there have been several concerts scheduled to take place, I’d have definitely flown to perform, wouldn’t even ask for permission to stay. It’s my job. I was in Chechnya, in Yugoslavia, etc. I’ve never performed in Syria.”
Relatives, as well as artists, are flocking to the building in the heart of Moscow, where the ensemble worked, to pay their last tributes. They are all in shock, Komsomolskaya Pravda reports.