A talented and light-hearted guest had students learning Russian culture with smiles on Feb. 3 at Pleasant Valley Elementary School.

A talented and light-hearted guest had students learning Russian culture with smiles on Feb. 3 at Pleasant Valley Elementary School.
The visit from the Cultural Kaleidoscope's program on Russia was made possible with a grant from the Missouri Arts Council. Dressed in traditional Russian folk costume, Sergei Shapoval engaged students in learning about the country with music, a slide-show portraying the beautiful sites and landmarks, and tables full of Russian items on display.
Margie Tritt, program coordinator for the Cultural Kaleidoscope of Kansas City, introduced Shapoval. She explained that much like a kaleidoscope, bits and pieces of information about Russia would be presented, creating a new image of that place in students' minds.
Shapoval spoke Russian to the students, and introduced them to the Cyrillic alphabet. He told his young audience that they may not speak the same language, but the arts are universal and everyone can enjoy anyone's music, dance, food and art.
Students were wow-ed with Shapoval's musical talents on the garmoshka and balalaika flutes, bayan / button accordions and (for his finale) spoons.

More About Shapoval
Shapoval was born in Krivoi Rog, Ukraine. He obtained his master's degree in music education from Gnessin Pedagogical Institute in Moscow, where he was a student of renowned Bayanist, Yuri Sidorov.
Shapoval has been a concertmaster for the dance group, "Krivbass" in Krivoi Rog and artistic director of the music section of the "Pravda" newspaper. At the College of Music, he taught bayan, accordion and conducting.
Shapoval won third place in the Entertainment Division of the Accordion Teachers' Guild International Competition in 1990. He is a touring artist for Missouri Arts Council, the North Dakota Council on the Arts, the Arkansas Arts Council and the South Dakota Arts Council.