Soviet Meistersingers: The Children’s Choral Studio Movement in the USSR (1958 to the 1980s)
This article presents an analysis of the movement of children’s choir studios (DKhS), which began in the late 1950s and included some one million participants before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The movement, facilitated by state decrees of 1957-1958, aimed to produce a particular subjectivity. The subject was to embrace national culture and correct aesthetics, extreme discipline and responsibility, a proper and enthusiastic work ethic, and friendship and collectivism—in sum, to be an exemplar of a “disciplined emotional solidarity.” Creation of such a disciplined, collectivist subject was crucial during the early post-Stalin years, given the leadership’s need and desire to replace repression with positive mobilization. In this sense, the children’s choir studios were very much of their time.