RCAF Band twin talents

News Article / August 2, 2017

By Ashley Demers

Identical twins Sergeant Ergash Nshanov and Sergeant Vakhid Nshanov have a lot in common. They share their looks, of course, but there’s more to it than that. They share just about everything, including their brilliant musical abilities.

The Nshanovs were born and raised in Kazakhstan, and first learned to play the clarinet at the age of 10. Their parents were professional musicians, which is why the instrument quickly became a huge part of their lives.

The brothers attended post-secondary schooling in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Weimar, Germany, before completing their degrees at the Institute of Music in Moscow, Russia. At the age of 24, they moved to Quebec, Québec, where they earned their master’s degrees at Université Laval.

“When we studied in Moscow, we were always excited to go somewhere else,” Vakhid says. “And we started to look for different kinds of education because it was always our point to meet new people, be educated, to take something new. Another school, for example; another profession.”

They also began studying for their second master’s degree, and completed two full semesters, but they left school to join the military in March of 2013. The brothers are now Sergeants stationed at 17 Wing Winnipeg, Manitoba, and perform as part of the RCAF Band. But 17 Wing isn’t Ergash and Vakhid’s first posting. Their first posting, also together, was 2 Canadian Division Support Base in Valcartier, Québec. In Valcartier, they played clarinet in La Musique du Royal 22e Régiment, which, like the RCAF Band, is one of Canada’s six professional military bands.

The transfer from the Canadian Army to the Royal Canadian Air Force has been a significant change for them, as has the move from Valcartier to Winnipeg, but so far they are adjusting well. They say that having each other has helped them with the transition. They have no other family in Canada, so they hope to remain together in any future postings. “We’re very happy to stay together because it is very important to have someone you know very well, from your family, near you,” Ergash says. “We understand that maybe in the future we might be posted to different places and work in different places, but we hope it won’t happen.”

Though Ergash and Vakhid have regular practices with the RCAF Band, they still spend at least two to three hours together each day practising the musical instrument they have dedicated their lives to.

Thanks to their shared love for music, they have travelled together far and wide to experience new things, and over the years they have shared their talent with audiences in many different places through concerts and competitions. “We’ve felt that people have appreciated our work and our play,” says Ergash. “We spend a lot of time at practice. It is our main project and we just don’t think about anything else.”

With the RCAF Band, Vakhid and Ergash still have the opportunity to do some of the travelling that they love so much.

This article first appeared in the June 28, 2017, edition of The Voxair, and is reprinted here with permission.

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