That's what led Mrs. Matveyeva, a widow for the past seven years, to found the Aphrodite Christian Center, in order to soak up some of her spare time (that is, when she isn't doing volunteer work at the city dog pound).
"Of course," she says, "it's sort of a paradox to have a Christian center called Aphrodite, who wasn't exactly without sin. I just liked the name."
Upstairs, the folk instrument ensemble, a dedicated group that with changing membership has been practicing here since 1931, is halfway through its thrice-weekly rehearsal.
The youngest musician is 13; the oldest, 81. Olga Sukhleyeva, the director, is leading, strumming a gleaming wooden instrument called a gusli zvonchataya.
She is dedicated to her craft, prim, demanding, saddened by the collapse of the old Soviet ways and subsidies, and clearly not a fan of the boisterous Alla Matveyeva.
"Our group has survived because of our devotion to music and to our instruments," she says sharply.
Mrs. Matveyeva doesn't care. Sometimes in the new Russia it pTC takes a lion and a tiger -- "By the way, did I mention that I used to drive in road rallies through Czechoslovakia?" -- to keep the higher forms of culture alive.