The 62nd annual USCC (Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ) Youth Festival was staged over the Victoria Day Weekend in Brilliant and the turnout was customarily strong.
A packed parking lot at the Brilliant Cultural Centre on Sunday afternoon suggested the seats were well used, and once through the doors it was obvious the crowd was enjoying the proceedings.
The Sunday events, as related at the scene by USCC Executive Director J.J. Verigin, were of a more sombre nature than the comparatively freewheeling program from the night before.
“The place was packed,” said Verigin, “there were skits, jokes, lots of humour.”
The Sunday program held its own, featuring choir performances and also beautiful singing by the whole crowd… a moving scene to witness.
A very special guest at the festival was a lady named Marina Karova, a resident of Rostov on Don – a Russian city of about the same size as Vancouver. Local resident Eileen Kooznetsoff had been instrumental in arranging Marina’s attendance. Kooznetsoff, herself, was a part of a recent visit to Russia. Two were apparently invited but the other would-be guest was not successful in obtaining a visa.
With a capacity of about a thousand, the well-filled Brilliant centre drew about the same as festivals in other years, and Verigin is pretty sure he knows why. When asked if there were any new and special attractions at this year’s event, he said there wasn’t, but he had three reasons why the turnout was as good as usual:
“Number one: to reconnect in the spiritual sense;
two: to experience the culture they grew up in; and three: to see family and friends.”
With another successful USCC Youth Festival in the books and guests heading home to locations in… Russia, Utah, Alberta, Saskatchewan and various parts of B.C… J.J. Verigin took the opportunity to express his pride in the younger members of the Doukhobor community.
“That was sweet,” he concluded as to the strong youth participation. “People always have a concern as time goes by… that people lose connections, or are not as engaged or interested. So it’s just nice to see the younger generations continuing. That says something in itself.”