Golden girls show off golden pipes at Brighton Beach ‘grandma pageant’

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A little help from her friends: Fanya Veret, 80, is showered with leaves by twin brothers and emcees Val and Lenny Kravtsov.
Young gun: The grandmothers weren’t the only performers of the night, Mitchel Ilyaguev, who dances with the Tovushi Kavkazi Jewish Youth Center, balances a bottle on his head.
A crowning achievement: Faina Konusova was given the “Grandmother” prize after singing and dancing her way into the hearts of the judges.
Crowned!: Anna Malkina-Shumayev shows off her crown after wining the “Queen Grandmother” prize.

It was a granny award-winning show.

More than a dozen mic-rocking matrons vied for the title of grandest grandma during the 14th annual Your Highness Grandmother Pageant at National Restaurant and Night Club in Brighton Beach on Oct 18. The display of dazzling dames was one for the ages, according to the winner.

“We had a great time,” said 78-year-old Anna Malkina-Shumayev, who swept the over-75 bracket with her multi-lingual musicality. “I sang in Hebrew, Russian, and English and everyone was dancing and having a good time.”

Malkina-Shumayev came decked out in World War II-era Soviet fatigues and floored judges with a tireless song-and-fiddle routine she’ perfected playing for veterans at nursing homes around Brooklyn, she said. Judges named her Queen Grandmother for the fourth time since 2004 — an honor she dedicated to America’s fighting men and women, she said.

Relative spring chicken Faina Konusova, 66, won the Grandmother award — given to gals under 75 — for her singing routine, and the pageant’s oldest competitor, 89-year-old Etya Mikhelson, took home the Young at Heart award.

The Russian Heritage Be Proud Foundation organized the event, and more than 250 friends and family came out to support the senior singers.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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