Kyiv orchestra brings mission to Texas on its 13th North American tour

28 November 2018, 09:21 | Monitoring | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

Jo Lee Ferguson

Longview News-Journal, Oct 6, 2018

The mission of the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus is bigger than the music it will present Tuesday when the group performs at Trinity Episcopal Church in Longview, Texas.

The music is a way for the musicians to share their faith and to help support their work in Ukraine through Music Mission Kyiv. Tuesday’s free concert is set 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

“This is the 13th North American tour, and the purpose is twofold for us,” said Greg Kannon, chief executive officer of Music Mission Kyiv in the United States. “It’s to bring awareness of the amazing things happening in Ukraine that we get to be a part of, such as feeding over 515 widows every week.”

The organization also is connected with four orphanages where it conducts music programs and Bible studies, as well as hospitals it shares music with people wounded in the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Music Mission Kiev’s website spells the performing group’s title as “Kyiv,” explaining that Kiev is the Russian version of the word that Americans know best, but Kyiv is the Ukrainian spelling that is true to the heritage of the group’s musicians. Originally formed after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the group’s mission has been compounded as fighting began in the country several years ago in a war with Russia-backed separatists.

The group — many of the performers are graduates of the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine — says its mission is “to use the sacred classics to introduce the gospel to the country of Ukraine and the world.”

“Opportunities are opening for us to share the music, because music is the universal language,” Kannon said. “The people receiving it continually use the word ‘hope.’ It brings them hope. They’ve only been out of communism since the early 90s, and there’s still a war going on with Russian aggressions that their families and their friends are either trapped there or dying there — all those people who have died in a conflict that the United States has lost interest in or is unaware of in our general population.”

Before the fall of the Iron Curtain, people in Ukraine were typically part of the Russian or Ukrainian Orthodox Church, but the Protestant side that the West is familiar with was new to them.

“It’s not that the doors are wide open. It’s like there are no doors,” he said. The musicians themselves are involved in the mission’s work, serving widows, pensioners, orphans and people wounded in the war.

“It is being received well and for us, as a mission, it’s important that our actions match our words,” he said. “If we say it’s important to take care of widows and orphans, then we should be doing that. We’re trying to show two sides of one mission. One is that we bring hope through music, and of course we use a lot of the Ukrainian hope songs — so the Ukrainian population in North America loves that — but we also are bringing the social justice, the practical side of meeting needs of the people that fall through the cracks in Ukraine.”

The second purpose is to develop more support for the mission, to “invite more people to partner” with the mission’s work in Ukraine.

“Our needs are prayer support — as a people of faith, we believe there’s great encouragement and power that comes from that, but it’s the financial side of it,” Kannon said. “The dollar goes so far in Ukraine. The exchange rate to the dollar is very strong, and Americans work hard and make good salaries, good money, and Americans are generous by nature. When they know there is a specific need, America responds.”

Donations will be accepted at the performance. CDs of the group’s music also will be for sale, along with Ukrainian-made souvenirs.

Much of the music the group performs is based around classical spiritual music by Bach and Beethoven, for instance, but there also are African and African-American spirituals.

“The amazing thing for me with this group is they are the only concert choir in the world who can sing all of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ in English, Russian and Ukrainian,” Kannon said.

The larger orchestra and chorus in Ukraine consists of more than 100 orchestra members and sometimes hundreds of singers. The touring group consists of 32 singers and seven musicians, who stay with members of the host churches while they’re touring in America.

Bob Stoecker, the U.S. tour coordinator, said the group is performing 36 concerts, having started in September with stops in Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma.

“They are wold-class professional performers,” he said.

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Last comments

  • Стефан | 9 December 2018, 22:34

    Каждый честный вносит свой вклад в очищение Украины от гнилой коммунистической, атеистической, советской идеологии, философии, политики и пропаганды.

  • velovs@ukr.net | 9 December 2018, 17:40

    Їй-Богу, не варто і не слід тут нам так лихословити й проклинати політичних опонентів. Тобто наслідувати ці їхні ж "взірці" - злоби й ненависті... Краще - все-таки - буде нам

  • enzian | 9 December 2018, 16:39

    Коли тобі вже руки відсохнуть, гнидо?

  • Михаил | 9 December 2018, 03:15

    Блажен муж, иже не иде на совет нечестивых!

  • Михаил | 9 December 2018, 02:36

    Запасаемся попкорном и радостно наблюдаем. Скорей всего это будет театр одного актера - Денисенко. Начнёт, как обычно, интриги, аферы и цирковые представления, чтобы стать наконец-то официально