Musical Support for Ukraine Abounds

On 20 November last year, Freo people were treated to a wonderful Christmas Fundraiser for Ukraine Concert in Fremantle Town Hall to assist women and children affected by the war in Ukraine. The concert was extremely successful, some $18,170 being donated by concertgoers.

Our readers will be interested to learn that the recent follow up New Year’s Wish Fundraiser for Ukraine held on 13 January 2023, again featuring local, talented musicians and rising stars, raised $19,650 in ticket sales and donations for emergency repurposed accommodation, humanitarian aid and trauma care with an emphasis on women and children.

The sold-out concert at the Romancing the Stone Garden in Maida Vale, was organized and MC’d by Diana Teplyj, a Claremont resident with Ukrainian heritage.

“The moment the gates were opened and concert goers made their way in, there was a very positive vibe and sense of anticipation in the air”, Ms Teplyj said. “Just like the charming niches and paths weaving their way through the enchanting garden setting, the audience was taken on a scintillating musical journey under the stars during the beautiful summer’s evening where even the wind quietened down as if listening to the music”.

The concert started with the exquisite, traditional Ukrainian Pryvit, or Welcome, by Tayissa Sweetlove from the Roztiazhka Dancers who symbolically presented the audience with a round bread and salt that represent hospitality and friendship.

Appearing in the concert were the entertaining UKENDOIT Ukelele players with a nostalgic selection of evergreens, virtuoso accordionist Myroslav Gutej, the UKI Ukelele Singers, Echoes of Ukraine Choir, young talent Margo Chyzhma – with popular and stirring Ukrainian melodies and songs, creative writer and poet Liliana Bogojev with her powerfully evocative poem about Ukraine (“it will never be quiet again”), outstanding trumpeter Zachary Ogden with his beautiful rendition of the second movement of Haydn’s trumpet concerto, and the Alpine Bell Trio with delightful Viennese melodies expertly played on cowbells by Delma Nistelberger and Karen Gourley, accompanied by Karen Sagenschneider on the accordion.

A particularly poignant moment resounded when UKI Ukelele members, Suzanna Prushynsky and Slawka Schilo, teamed up with the UKENDOIT Ukeleles to premiere the song, “Invisible People”, in the Ukrainian language. This song was written by UKENDOIT’s founder Alan de Lacy, as a message of goodwill for Ukraine and to show that the plight of the Ukrainian people has not become “invisible”.

After the interval, WAAPA graduates and rising stars – Benjamin Del Borrello, Claire Lane, James Pinneri, Scout Simmonds and Sholto Foss, with pianists Lydia Lai and Izaac Masters, presented a sensational smorgasbord of vocal and musical delights with true pizzazz including excerpts from The Mikado (Gilbert and Sullivan), South Pacific and Oklahoma (Rogers and Hammerstein), and an array of exquisite international folksongs and classical works.

The concert concluded with the sparkling Champagne Aria from the famous Viennese operetta “Die Fledermaus” by Johann Strauss.

Reflecting on the concert, Ms Teplyj said it was “an evening to remember with one highlight after another.” She expressed her gratitude for the generosity of so many people – the audience who attended the concert and made it such a success, but especially the performers who unhesitatingly donated their services, as well as the award winning, Perth artist, Leon Holmes, who created and donated a magnificent and profoundly symbolic painting titled Sunflowers of Hope that was auctioned for an awe-inspiring yet justified amount at the concert, and all the businesses who donated fabulous raffle prizes, not to forget the Ukrainian ladies with their amazing culinary specialities and attractive souvenirs.

Ms Teplyj emphasised how every single contribution and donation from this event has been a way for people in Australia to demonstrate that, even from a great distance, they have not forgotten the Ukrainian people in their time of unprecedented suffering and need.

In summing up the concert experience, Ms Teplyj referred to the words of local WA poet, Pat Locke, from her ‘Poem for Ukraine’: “So much is lost… Innocence is shattered, but around the world good people showed that love and freedom matter.”

You can still donate to the fundraising cause with your tax-deductible donations here at Ukraine Crisis Appeal.


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