VILLAGE OF KIHALINO, Vladimir Region, January 16. /TASS/. A crowd of several hundred attended the funeral of the artistic director of the Russian army’s song and dance company (Aleksandrov Ensemble), Valery Khalilov, in the village of Khalino, the Kirzhach district, Vladimir Region. Khalilov, the holder of the People’s Artist of Russia title, died in the Tupolev-154 air crash near Sochi late last year together with tens of other performing artists. He was laid to rest at a rural cemetery in the home village of his relatives on his mother’s side.
At 13:00 the coffin with Khalilov’s body was brought to the Church of Archangel Michael, which the renowned conductor had been helping to restore for the past few years. After a brief funeral service the mourners proceeded towards the church cemetery to the sounds of music pieces Khalilov had authored himself.
At the graveside the relatives and guests took turns near the coffin, covered by Russia’s state flag, to recall the talent, kindness and modesty of the late conductor and composer.
Sole author of military marches in modern Russia
"He has brought up a large group of followers who will certainly continue his cause, the cause of a great performing artist, musician and composer. After the breakup of the Soviet Union he was the only one who kept composing military marches at a time when nobody cared about that, and he authored fifteen of them," said First Deputy Defense Minister, General of the Army Aleksandr Belousov, who had known Khalilov since 1988.
Belousov recalled that General Khalilov had gone down in history as an outstanding composer of modern times, who has to his credit a long list of romances, songs and military marches. He expressed the hope that Khalilov’s younger brother, Aleksandr, a military conductor, too, would continue his late brother’s traditions.
"Valery Khalilov did so much for the art of brass music. He lived a wonderful life, the life of a man who loved his country, who loved music and who loved everything that he ever undertook to accomplish. He loved his wife, children and family. I believe that this place will become a customary site for his fellow musicians and friends to meet. We will now give thought together what we should do to commemorate Valery. I believe that many of his devotees will be coming here, not only from Moscow, but from the whole of Russia and around the world, too," said the Vladimir Region’s governor, Svetlana Orlova.
After the funeral ceremony Valery Khalilov was buried to the sounds of Russia’s state anthem.
A Tupolev-154 jet liner of the Russian Defense Ministry crashed early in the morning on December 25 a little more than a minute after leaving Sochi’s seaside Adler Airport. There were 92 people on board - military officers, media workers, head of the human rights fund Fair Aid Yelizaveta Glinka and a large group of performing artists of the Russian army’s Aleksandrov song and dance company, who had been expected to perform before an audience of the personnel of Russia’s aerospace group at Hmeymim base in Syria on New Year’s Eve.
The plane’s debris were spotted several hours later 1,500 kilometers off Sochi at a depth of 50-70 meters.
Monday, January 16, saw the funerals of the tragedy’s other victims in Moscow and other localities of Russia.