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Ukrainian society in Victoria celebrates 45 years with Oak Bay event

Over 55 Ukrainian performers, including those the organization helped flee from the war in Ukraine, will perform at fundraiser
The first Ukrainian Arts and Culture Celebration featured traditional Ukrainian dancing, music and art at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre, April 15. The Society is hosting a similar fundraising event titled the Sunflowers for Ukraine Concert on Oct. 15, 2023. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)

The Ukrainian Canadian Cultural Society of Vancouver Island is celebrating 45 years with an evening of Ukrainian music and dance on Oct. 15.

The Sunflowers for Ukraine Concert will feature Veselka dancers, the Kalyna Choir and LUNA Ukrainian Ensemble. Over 55 Ukrainian performers will perform in various genres from classical Ukrainian opera songs to the sounds of the ancient strings of bandura.

The society provides support and community for Ukrainian families who fled the war in Ukraine and found refuge on Vancouver Island, including some of the musicians who will be performing.

While many Ukrainian performers have lived and worked in Victoria for years, the war in Ukraine has seen many accomplished Ukrainian artists move to Victoria. These include violin duo Lado Strings, Borys Koniukhov and Julia Frait, bandurists Georgiy Matviyiv and Mariia Smolinska, saxophone player Anton Serdiuk and trumpetist Eldar Talipov who will all perform at the event.

The concert’s star guest is Ukrainian soprano Nataliia Temnyk, who joined the faculty of the Victoria Conservatory of Music in the fall of 2023. She will present the works of the 19th-century Ukrainian composer Mykola Lysenko, and Natalka’s song from the opera Natalka-Poltavka.

Sunflowers for Ukraine Concert will be held at Dave Dunnet Performance Hall in Oak Bay High on Sunday, Oct. 15, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Traditional Ukrainian snacks will be available. All donations and proceeds from the concert will go to the Ukrainian Cultural Centre.

READ MORE: ‘Nowhere to go’: Help Ukraine Vancouver Island sees 300% rise in people seeking aid

Sam Duerksen

About the Author: Sam Duerksen

Since moving to Victoria from Winnipeg in 2020, I’ve worked in communications for non-profits and arts organizations.
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