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May 5, 2006

5,500 Troops to Sing Anthem A Cappella

The Moscow Times (Russia):

Thousands of troops will sing the national anthem a cappella as they march through Red Square on Tuesday, adding a new twist to the annual Victory Day parade that will celebrate the 61st anniversary of the allied victory over Nazi Germany.

The May 9 celebrations will be toned down from last year, however, when a record 57 world leaders attended 60th-anniversary festivities. As in years past, Valery Gergiev will conduct a free concert, Mayor Yury Luzhkov will seed the clouds to prevent rain, and the day will end with dazzling fireworks displays.

Most Russians are hard-pressed to recite the words of the national anthem; the melody is the same as the Soviet anthem but the words were rewritten in 2000 to remove references to Lenin, the Communist Party and the Soviet Union.

Soldiers, however, do not have to make any extra effort as they prepare to sing because all servicemen are required to learn the anthem by heart when they join the military, said Colonel Vitaly Gusak, a spokesman for the Moscow military district. Servicemen also have to sing the anthem once a month during a drill, Gusak said. He did not say whether the anthem was sung without musical accompaniment.

A total of 5,500 troops are to sing the anthem a cappella during the parade, which will start at 10 a.m. and be broadcast live on state television. Red Square will be closed to the general public.

Posted by acapnews at May 5, 2006 12:06 AM