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The Shepherd Union Building got a bit of Russian talent Tuesday afternoon. Deanna Suleymanova, a trained opera singer originally
from Irkutsk, Russia, visited Weber State University to sing opera and perform on the piano in the atrium of the Shepherd Union Building from noon until shortly after 1 p.m. on Tuesday.
Suleymanova’s performance was put on as part of the Center for Diversity and Unity’s Sessions on the Ledge, a weekly one-hour showcase of music, dance, spoken word or other performances to help demonstrate different cultures, spanning race, gender, class and more.
“I think one of the biggest things that we are diverse in is how many different talents everyone has,” said Lola Moli, Sessions on the Ledge chair for the Center for Diversity and Unity. “We all come from different places and have different skills, so our club’s goal is to unify everyone. I think it unifies us to know that we all have talents and appreciate that.”
Suleymanova said her mother is a professional opera singer and has been teaching her voice since she was a baby.
“At the age of 6, I started going to private music school, and I went there 12 years — seven years piano department and five years guitar department. After that, I went to my music college and I was in (the) music department. I got my bachelor’s degree in choir conducting and also opera performance.”
In addition to her musical training, Suleymanova has a master’s degree in linguistics and was a professional ballroom and Latin dancer for 10 years.
Suleymanova has been living in the United States for 15 months now, and said she’s always looking for opportunities, so she was happy to perform for WSU students and community members.
“I enjoyed it,” said Gary Squire, a WSU student who caught some of Suleymanova’s performance. “I think it was different. It was something I wasn’t expecting, coming into the student center. Very culturally livening.”
Sessions on the Ledge are put on every Tuesday by the Center for Diversity and Unity from 12-1 p.m. Previous performances include slam poetry, singer/songwriters, and folk dancers.