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Ukrainian youth choir defies battle with messages of freedom – The Washington Publish


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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — From a dank Kyiv bomb shelter to the brilliant stage lights of Europe’s theaters, a Ukrainian youth choir’s hymns in reward of freedom provide a type of therapeutic balm to its war-scarred members.

The Shchedryk ensemble, described as Kyiv’s oldest skilled youngsters’s choir, had been within the Danish capital this week for a efficiency as a part of a world tour that additionally took them to New York’s famed Carnegie Corridor.

It was imagined to be a part of a busy 12 months to have fun the choir’s fiftieth anniversary. However Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine modified all that, with members scattering inside their homeland and overseas looking for security. Some members say they’ve misplaced family and friends within the combating.

“It is rather tough to collect the kids,” stated Marianna Sablina, the choir’s inventive director and chief conductor, whose mom based the choir in 1971. A number of the members are “outdoors the borders of Ukraine, and solely a few third of the discussion board at present lives in Kyiv.”

Earlier this 12 months, the choir managed to reassemble and started rehearsing in Kyiv’s Nationwide Palace of Arts.

The vagaries of war usually plagued the rehearsals. When Kyiv got here beneath bombardment and suffered energy outages, air raid sirens compelled the choir to assemble in a darkened bomb shelter, illuminating their sheet music with no matter gentle supply they might discover.

“When there are sirens, we go to the shelter and simply sing with our telephones and flashlights,” stated 15-year-old choir member Anastasiia Rusina, whose household fled to western Ukraine following the invasion.

“I believe that we’re type of getting used to it as a result of it’s our job to do. We have now a live performance, so we simply can’t skip any rehearsals,” she stated.

The viewers at Copenhagen’s Church of The Holy Ghost lately listened to the hovering voices of the choir, made up largely teenage ladies sporting black and white attire accentuated by pink and black squares on their sleeves and colourful beads round their necks.

“I sincerely hope that the live performance right here will ship a message of affection and hope and in addition sympathy and help to all Ukrainian households,” stated Nataliya Popovych, co-founder of Copenhagen’s Ukraine Home, a civil society group which introduced the group to Denmark. “Hopefully subsequent 12 months, all Ukrainian households will have the ability to have fun Christmas correctly,” she added.

On the core of the efficiency was the tune “Carol of the Bells,” maybe greatest recognized from the 1990 Christmas film ‘Dwelling Alone’.

The carol was initially organized by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych within the early 1900s. The choir’s identify, “Shchedryk,” comes from the tune’s Ukrainian title.

“We have now to ship to people who our tradition is so necessary to our world,” Polina Holtseva, one other stated 15-year-old choir member, whose household has stayed in Kyiv all through the battle.

“It’s our tradition, it’s our songs, and it’s so wonderful that we’ve got an opportunity to provide you this music,” she stated.

Choir members Rusina and Holtseva stated they don’t have any concrete profession plans. They famous they don’t don’t even know what they’re going to do tomorrow. However amid the horrors of battle, Shchedryk choir has develop into their “protected place.”

“We simply don’t take into consideration the battle or our state of affairs. We simply sing, we’re along with our pals, our household,” Rusina stated.

Observe AP’s protection of the battle in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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