Saturday, 22 February 2014

Calgary Prays for Ukraine - Moleben'

What a difference a day makes!  The political situation in Ukraine is very fluid, changing by the minute it seems.  Legal questions, procedural issues, the safety and security of citizens, property and finances, nervous energy! People leaving, people arriving, evidence appearing, public entry to formerly private residences, the stories of Ukraine circa February 22 are indeed interesting.  But is it a blessing or concerning to live in interesting times? It is a matter of faith perhaps.

Many Calgarians voiced their disappointment at not being able to participate in the prayer service called for earlier this week.  Fortunately, Calgarians have another opportunity to contribute to the surge of prayer energy being enacted for positive change in Ukraine. It is again time to join the community to light candles, give voice to prayers for peace, for the eternal memory of the departed, and to foster a wave of goodwill here in Canada, in the Ukrainian diaspora, and in the ancestral homeland - Ukraine.  Hospodi pomiluij!

Inviting all to prayer, please join the community's special Moleben' Prayer Service on Sunday, February 23, at 7PM at St. Vladimir's Ukrainian Orthodox Church at 404 Meredith Road NE Calgary.  

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Calgary Prays for Ukraine

As so many of you may already be connected in one way or another with Ukraine and the diaspora, it is also possible you are paying attention to the travesty that is their government of late. Months of peaceful public protests that have been ignored or derided by the Yanukovich led government have galvanized people's resolve across Ukraine, the largest country in Europe. Good diaspora, citizens of free nations everywhere in the world, it is time to take up the issue of Ukraine's future. Sourcing information on public media one cannot help but recognize how recent events in Ukraine are unfolding. Since November, and into the last few evenings, the response of "power" to Kyiv's Maidan movement has been horrifying, but Black Tuesday revealed to the world the regime's open, active military action against the people of Ukraine. Numbers vary but thousands appear to have been treated for serious injuries and the sad reality that 30 souls have departed this earth as a result of their government's brutality towards citizens. Escalating tensions are indeed receiving public attention, at huge cost to Ukrainian society it is true. But truth must prevail.

If you haven't yet contacted your elected officials, asking for personal contact to confirm they are actively engaged in representing Canadian values in Ukraine, then please do. Contact the television stations, radio, media and share information. But here in Calgary the community will meet again on Thursday, February 20th to pray together for the fallen, and for wisdom and moral strength to prevail over the next pivotal events in the ancestral homeland of so many Canadians of Ukrainian ancestry. A service is set for 7 p.m.this Thursday in Calgary at Our Lady of the Assumption church on 6th Street N.E.

As a long time Canadian, I am assured by my elected official that Canada is doing everything in its power to affect positive change in Ukraine.   But if everyone you and I know applied pressure on our elected officials, there would come a tipping point when efforts may grow. And there will be a tipping point.

Time is short and the events in Ukraine are pressing. Please take active part as citizens of free and democratic nations everywhere. Slava Ukraini!

Ukrainian expats plan vigil in Calgary following deadly protests

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Razom 2 in Calgary

What an absolutely fabulous event!  Today's Razom 2 - A Fusion of Ukrainian Dance performed by Yevshan of Saskatoon, Tavria of Regina, Tryzub of Calgary and Rusalka of Winnipeg spectacularly showcased the finest Ukrainian dancing on the Canadian prairies - and perhaps even further! The four city tour features four of western Canada's longest serving, and most empowered Ukrainian Dance Ensembles whose captivating programs have engaged talented dancers in the creation of community - Razom!  Whoever dreamed up this unique fusion of different talents in one stellar show should be congratulated!  Wow!

Wasn't sure I wanted to head out in the minus whatever weather, but it was well worth the drive.  Calgary's South Alberta Jubilee Auditorium proved, again, to be a wonderful host venue for the important art of Ukrainian dance - actually perhaps it is now Ukrainian Canadian dance!  Four Ukrainian dance groups represented the Ukrainian communities of Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg, each with intricately designed choreography, and lovely outfits representing the different regions of Ukraine.  The program of 18 beautiful dances began with Virsky's Pryvit, meandered across Ukrainian regions including Bukovena, Polissia, Volyn', Kuban', Poltava, Transcarpathia, the Black Sea, and summed up with the absolutely amazing, and always loved Virsky Hopak.  The spirited dancers performed with class, grace, humor - flawless delivery. Based on Roman Brytan, the MC's statements, and the program of names, I have a strong impression that these are many generations Canadians, delighting in their youth, and the passionate art form of their ancestral homeland.  To perform a program of such artistry surely is a direct affirmation of the wonderful dance training of the various Dance Directors and Choreographers.  Clearly there is a very close bond among the dancers, their Dance Masters, and among the groups too!  Of course the opportunity to work collaboratively on such a program must have been super fun for all those involved.

I had the good fortune of sitting with two little ballerina dancers - the "fan club" of one of the Tryzub dancers who shared the stage in Calgary's Nutcracker.  Little Clara beamed with delight when she recognized her "lifter".  And behind me was an admiring group of perhaps former dancers, ooing and ahhing at all the most dancerly parts - clearly a knowledgeable audience.  Then a friend who picked up the dancing teacher role when I was making babies in Fort McMurray dropped into the chair next to me, equally impressed with the dancing.  Spoke briefly with some girls from Winnipeg, who absolutely adored working with the great people who put this show on the road.  What can I say?  Thankyou to all the Razom team - when are you doing this again?  And don't you think Edmonton should be on your next tour?

Hey, Winnipeg - make sure you get tickets soon!  

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Valentines in Fort McMurray?

The world is full of interesting Ukrainian stuff - including the Ukrainian dance club in Fort McMurray, Alberta.  And it seems that perhaps there is even more than simply Ukrainian dancing going on!  The Fort McMurray group - what ever they are called, are hosting a Ukrainian Valentine's social.  What a great idea!  In a city of almost a hundred thousand, there have got to be a few, maybe even more than a few Ukrainians.  Time for a party!

If you might be interested, try contacting Verlayne Flett at 780 792-0895 for more information about joining the fun at Fort McMurray's Ukrainian night for St.Valentines!  

Stephania's CD Release Event - March 2

Fans of great Ukrainian Estradna Musika will be thrilled to hear that Stephania Romaniuk is performing again - and releasing a great new recording of the songs of Bohdan Wesolowsky (among others). Joined by top jazz musicians from Calgary, her premier recording of all-new arrangements of Ukrainian retro-pop songs from the 30-50's will definitely redefine Ukrainian Cabaret! Imagine swing, latin jazz, rhumba, tango, bolero, and the wonderful vocal stylings of Stephania - wow!

The Ukrainian diaspora community really makes things happen - thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, and with financial support from a variety of foundations including the Taras Shevchenko Foundation, Бували дні, By-Gone Days will be a special addition to your listening favorites.

You can enjoy Stephania performing songs from her debut album on Sunday, March 2, 2014 at St. John's Institute (11024 82 Ave NW, Edmonton). For more information you can call (780) 439-2320. Make sure to get tickets soon - here is some contact information.

Great news! Stephania's song "Summer" will be featured on the Shevchenko Foundation's 50th Anniversary Commemorative Album!