Kyrgyz youth entertain Airmen, NFL cheerleaders

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Carolyn Viss
  • 376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Transit Center at Manas Airmen and NFL cheerleaders watched a concert performed by Kyrgyz students at a local music school Jan. 27, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

While on an Armed Forces Entertainment tour here, the Washington Redskins cheerleaders visited the Abdraev Musical Boarding School in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where the students performed for 30 minutes.

"It's humbling to see such gifted children put all the time and effort into sharing their talent with us and be so interested in (our) culture," said Abigail Dymond, a Redskin cheerleader. "I would never see this kind of thing if it weren't for the Redskins and AFE."

As the only musical school in the whole country, the school has drawn 450 1st- through 12th-grade students from all around the country.

"I am very glad to see Americans here," said Zarema Kiyizbaeva, the deputy director of the Abdraev Musical Boarding School and a pianist of more than 30 years. "We've always been glad to welcome you as guests and interact with you."

"It's absolutely amazing to see such talent at such a young age," said Master Sgt. Linda Mezza-Romero, the 376th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron community service flight chief.

The school is more than 40 years old, and produces world-renown musicians who finish their musical educations at a conservatory in Moscow before moving on to work as professional musicians in other countries including the United States and all over Europe, Ms. Kiyizbaeva said.

All of the young musicians have academic programs that accompany their musical training, and many were able to interact with Airmen and the cheerleaders in English. 

"Art as a form transcends all language barriers," said Talmesha Richards, a Redskins cheerleader. "Ours is dance, theirs is music; but it's all the same, and we get to share it."

Asanbekova Rano, a 17-year-old 10th grade student, played the violin for the crowd.

"I am very pleased you enjoyed my performance," she said. "I think the Americans are a very good and positive influence on the students here. Being able to perform for you motivates us to play better."

But the honor of enjoying each others' music goes both ways for the Air Force and the school. Just a few weeks ago, one of the U.S. Air Forces Central bands touring the area of responsibility performed for the students.

"After the last Air Force band came through to play for the students, they were talking about it for two weeks," Ms. Kiyizbaeva said.

"It's hard to come in to work every day and call it a job when it's this much fun," Sergeant Mezza-Romero said. "Not every place in the area of responsibility can take (visitors) downtown, so it's a good chance for them to see how the military interacts with the local community."

It also shows the local community that military servicemembers and civilian Americans care very much about the country of Kyrgyzstan, said Staff Sgt. Tina McCloskey, theNCOIC of the 376th EFSS recreation facility on the Transit Center.

"It meant the world to me to be able to interact with the kids and further establish community relations in our own small way," said Megan Bressler, a Redskins cheerleader. "It's cool to see them light up on stage when they look up and see me smiling at them."