Thursday, 13 April 2017

Doukhobor Singer Peter N. Voykin Dies

An outstanding Western Canadian Doukhobor singer, Peter N. Voykin (1931 - 2017), died in early April 2017 at his home in Castlegar, British Columbia.

He was 86 years old.

For the funeral service April 13th, at the Brilliant Cultural Centre in Castlegar, BC, Koozma J. Tarasoff and Kristina Kristova prepared the following letter:

To:   Lucy Voykin and daughter Catherine Markin
        Castlegar, British Columbia

With much sadness I and my wife Kristina Kristova heard about the passing of our dear friend Peter N. Voykin, Doukhobor activist and stalwart singer. Peter was an outgoing, friendly and jovial person with a deep voice who appeared to be singing all of his life.

For over 45 years he helped preserve the traditional mode of Doukhobor singing. People liked him very much. When he and wife Lucy held a series of Choir Workshops on the Canadian prairies in 1991 and 1992, one of the participants wrote: ‘They set up our societies into high gear in how to sing. And they inspired us how to sing from the heart.’

Peter Voykin was an ambassador of peace for his ancestors. In 1995 he directed the Voices for Peace Choir that toured across Canada, the United Nations in New York, and Russia. The Choir stopped in Ottawa and performed at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. With Kristina we were honoured when they visited our home. With over 100 people present, Peter led the choir to several songs. It was a memorable moment for all of us, our children, our neighbours and friends.

On his tour around the world, Peter and the Doukhobors in the choir proclaimed a new world order with Love, Non-violence, Equality and Brotherhood.

In mid-January 1996 Peter was again in Ottawa with Lucy, and with their dear friends John J. and Laura Verigin. As a quartet, they performed at the very impressive opening of the Spirit Wrestlers exhibition in the Canadian Museum of Civilization. They concluded with three songs in Russian, English and French. The audience of almost 1,000 gave them a standing applause.

Peter N. Voykin has made his mark as an outstanding person, Doukhobor activist, singer and supporter of peace. He walked his talk and will be missed and remembered by all!

May he rest in peace….
Koozma and Kristina

More in biography of Peter N. Voykin, from my book Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers’ Strategies for Living (2002): pages 84-85, 89.


  1. Mae Popoff, Saskatoon, Sask.13 April 2017 at 18:23

    Peter Voykin rests in Peace in God's Eternal Home.
    Mы все войдем в Отсовскем Дом!
    We will meet again.
    Peter Voykin directed our Voices for Peace 1995 global tour across Canada,
    to the United Nations in New York and Russia.
    The global community gained more awareness of the Doukhobor culture and song
    through the sincere and laborious efforts of Peter Voykin.
    Doukhobor brothers and sisters will fondly remember, 'оt душе', Peter Voykin,
    With faith, hope for the future and love
    As where there is Love, there is God.
    Peter Voykin rests in peace
    (c Богам на всегда) in God's Eternal Home..

    Saskatchewan member of Voices for Peace 1995
    Mae Popoff

  2. Пусть земля ему будет пухом.

    Gunter Schaarschmidt (UVic)

  3. Vladimir Kuchin, Rostov-on-Don, Russia22 May 2017 at 16:20

    Светлой памяти Войкина Петра Николаевича

    Пишу эти скорбные строки с тяжёлым чувством невосполнимой потери такого достойного представителя Духоборцев, каким был и навсегда останется для нас Пётр Николаевич Войкин.

    Полагалось бы написать: «Ушёл Войкин П. Н….» и т.д. Нет, вот уж кто не ушёл, и не уйдёт от нас никогда, так это Пётр Николаевич. Он был щедро одарен природой необыкновенным, незабываемым голосом.

    Так и звучит в его вдохновленном исполнении «Колокольчик…», «Спускалося солнце за степи» и многие, очень многие задушевные русские народные песни. И звучит не только в ушах, и даже не в головах, а в наших взволнованных сердцах.

    В его неоднократные приезды в Россию – в частности, в 1995 году, в год Столетия со Дня Сожжения Духоборцами оружия в Закавказье – в составе большого сводного Хора Друзей «Голоса за мир» и потом в 1999 году, в год «Отмечания столетия переселения Духоборцев в Канаду» мы не только слушали выступления этих прославленных коллективов, но и снимали видеофильмы, которыми наслаждаемся до сих пор! Любуемся, как Пётр Николаевич в подаренной ему в России кавказской чёрной бурке органично смотрится и самозабвенно поёт! Трели его чистого, звонкого, красивейшего, роскошного голоса – всегда украшение любого многоголосного пения.

    Нам памятны и дороги, привезённые и присланные подаренные аудиокассеты, где поют родственные и дружеские семьи Войкиных и Веригиных.

    Предполагаю, поделиться и этим своим богатством с Ростовской консерваторией для дальнейшего результативного использования в просветительской, учебной, научно-исследовательской работе.

    Низко склоняемся головы перед Светлой и Вечной Памятью о Петре Николаевиче Войкине, которая всегда останется в наших сердцах.

    1. Translation:
      Blessed memory Voykina Pyotr Nikolayevich
      I am writing these mournful lines with a heavy sense of irretrievable loss of such a worthy representative of the Doukhobors, what was and will always be for us Petr Nikolaevich Voykin.

      I should have written: ‘Peter N. Voykin died....’ etc. No, his memory will not go away from us forever. He was generously endowed by nature with an extraordinary, unforgettable voice. We heard the sounds in his inspired performance of ‘The Bell ...’, ‘The Sun Descends Over the Steppe’ and many, many other real Russian folk songs. These were not only sounds in our ears, but they excited our minds and our hearts.

      In his repeated visits to Russia — in particular, in 1995, the year of the centenary of Burning Doukhobors weapons Day in the Caucasus —
      as part of a large combined ‘Voices for Peace’choir, and then in 1999, during the ‘celebration of the century of Doukhobor migration to Canada’, we not only listened to performances of these famous choirs, but also shot movies that we enjoy today! We admired Pyotr Nikolayevich dressed in Russian Caucasian black cloak given to him; he looked and sang with abandon! He had a pure, sonorous, beautiful, and luxurious voice — always a harmonious addition for any polyphonic singing.

      We remember the donated audiocassettes he gave us, where the Voykins sang with the Verigins.

      I plan to share their wealth with those of the Rostov Conservatory for future effective use in education, training, and research work.

      We bow our heads before the blessed and eternal memory of Petr Nikolaevich Voykin, which will always remain in our hearts.