On May 15, Holy Protection Ukrainian Catholic Church of Toronto will host Unite for Ukraine: A Musical Benefit from 7-9:30 p.m.
Freelance journalist Vivien Fellegi tapped into her extensive contact base to bring together a diverse lineup of musical artists to entertain in-person and online viewers in attendance.
“Music is so universal and powerful, and I wanted this evening to feature a wide range of artists from around the world to send a clear message to Ukrainians living in Canada, and anyone who might tune in from Ukraine or other countries. ‘other countries a lot of people care about,’” Fellegi said. “Ukraine is not alone.”
Fellegi specifically mentioned married Syrian musical duo Esmaeel Abofakher & Rahaf Alakbani. They lived through the dangerous civil unrest in their home country before immigrating to Canada and finding contentment. Their life experience suggests a form of kinship with Ukrainians in these perilous times.
Two groups will fill the parish hall of the Holy Protection with Ukrainian artists. The program will highlight the Yavir School of Ukrainian Dance and the vocal prowess of Kalendar, a five-member team that evokes the spirit of Ukrainian village life. The Quintageous Woodwind Quintet, bluegrass band Marty and Friends, folk singers Lunar Bloom and pop singer David Kroo complete the list of performers.
Fellegi said her own family history drew her to the cause.
“I particularly identify with this conflict in Ukraine because my parents were living at that time under the first iron of the Soviet empire. My grandfather owned a factory in a small town in Hungary, and because he was considered a ‘dirty capitalist’, my father was banned from going to university forever,” he said. she stated.
While entertaining the public is an important goal, the main mission of the benefit is to raise funds for the Canada-Ukraine Foundation, a non-profit organization that sends food, medical supplies and other humanitarian aid to conflict areas.
Lisa Shymko, a parishioner with Holy Protection Ukrainian Catholic Church and Vice President of the Eparchy of Toronto Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League, will be a key voice at the benefit event.
Shymko hopes events like the benefit event will encourage Canadians to continue to focus their attention and passion on the current situation in Ukraine.
“I hope we will not just talk about it for a month or two, but rather it will be a sustained effort and also raise awareness of the efforts of neighboring countries like Poland who support Ukraine.”