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Nil Reva

Nil Reva (7 December 1890 - April 1973) was a Russian bass oktavist who performed with several choirs in the early twentieth century. Most notably, he performed with Jaroff's "Don Cossacks" Choir, as well as Kostrokuff's "General Platoff's Cossacks" Choir. During the first World War, Reva was a major in the Imperial Russian Army. Reva later immigrated to the United States, where he performed with the younger oktavist Paul Michalik, twenty years his junior. The two were known for their mutual friendship. A fellow choir member recalls, "This feeling of mutual goodwill may in part be due to both being of Zaporozhian Cossack blood. They liked to sing together, and together their voices were the solid foundation that the choral harmonies were supported on. The voice of Reva was soft grained and velvety in texture, while the voice of Myhalik had a metallic bite to it. It could sound like the voice of God or the voice of Doom. Though of different timbre and character, their voices blended perfectly together." Both oktavists settled in New Jersey, Michalik in Perth Amboy, and Reva in Jackson. Nil Reva passed away in 1973.


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