By Margaret Matthews, Senior Columnist
Recently I had the privilege to attend a concert performed by the renowned Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus from Ukraine, organized and directed by Dr. Wes and Kim Janzen, who are part of the Music Mission Kiev BC Society. The group works as an agent of Multi-nation Missions Foundation, which provides assistance to widows, pensioners, refugees, and orphaned children in Ukraine. This concert was part of the Canada – Ukraine Friendship Tour, which performed concerts across Canada.
The chorus was comprised of 34 singers who sang in Russian, Ukrainian, and English with fluency and ease. It was obvious from the commencement of the concert that all the singers had years of voice training at opera schools in Ukraine and Russia as their tone and pitch were perfect and very professional. To accompany them was the symphony orchestra consisting of eight instrumentalists, two of whom played the bandura, a Ukrainian instrument with a likeness to a mandolin.
The symphony and chorus delighted the audience with sacred masterpieces of classical music; lively Ukrainian folk songs and dances; traditional spiritual/gospel songs; excerpts from Handel’s Messiah sung in Ukrainian, English, and Russian; themes from the Carpathian mountain region of west Ukraine; excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker;and excerpts from Bach’s compositions.
The group took to the stage dressed in formal attire, men in black suits and women in long black dresses. They performed 20 numbers in all, with a short intermission in-between. After the intermission, the group returned dressed in colourful Ukrainian garb, which was a treat in itself. They were a delight to both the eyes and ears of the audience.
The audience gave them a standing ovation for their superb performance and our listening pleasure, which I will not forget for a long time.
The best part of this entire musical treat was that it was free to attend. However, the audience was given the opportunity to donate to the cause at the end of the concert.
For more information on Music Mission Kiev, check out the group’s official website.