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Volume 21 Issue 7 - April 2016

  • Text
  • April
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Musical
  • Symphony
  • Arts
  • Theatre
  • Orchestra
  • Concerto
  • Choir

certificates, awards and

certificates, awards and mementos. They tell the story of Vesnivka’s history beginning with Kondracki who was studying at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music when she established Vesnivka to share her rich musical heritage. It wasn’t easy and some said a youth choir wouldn’t last. Tenacious and determined, Kondracki would prove them wrong. Encouraged by her father Bohdan Zorych, who had conducted his own choir in Ukraine, Kondracki was inspired by the beautiful music she sang growing up. “There is nothing to compare to the pure joy of singing – of using that fabulous instrument within us to express our passion for life and love of our Ukrainian culture,” she says. “This gift is a treasure that gains greater value when shared with others.” Back in the 60s, few had heard of Ukraine or knew that Mykola Leontovych, who composed the internationally renowned Carol of the Bells, was Ukrainian. Over the years, Vesnivka has helped put Ukrainian choral music on the map attracting culturally diverse audiences. Even a lack of Ukrainian music for girls’ voices didn’t keep her from her métier. When she couldn’t find suitable music, Kondracki rewrote arrangements from male choir TB scores to SSA. In 1968, she commissioned Ukrainian composer Andrij Hnatyshyn, living in Austria, to write an Eastern Rite Byzantine mass for Vesnivka in three- and four-part harmony which is the foundation of the choir’s sacred repertoire. Some sections are still part of the liturgy the choir sings at St. Nicholas. Kondracki also searched archives in Ukraine for original folk songs and classical music expanding Vesnivka’s repertoire. She made connections with contemporary composers there and at home and continues to commission new works to broaden Vesnivka’s musical horizons bringing new music to audiences and showcasing talented composers. “Vesnivka owes a great deal of its success to the incredible talent and creativity of composers who have given us such wonderful works to perform over the years,” says Kondracki. Ukrainian-Canadian composers such as Roman Hurko, whose Liturgy No.4 (Vesnivka) launched the choir’s anniversary season last fall, as well as Zenia Kushpeta, Larysa Kuzmenko and Zenoby Lawryshyn will be featured at this month’s concert. Kondracki continues to blaze new trails for Vesnivka by collaborating with ensembles such as the Elmer Iseler Singers, conducted by Lydia Adams, the Toronto Ukrainian Male Chamber Choir, Roman Borys, cellist with the Gryphon Trio, and violinist Halyna Dziuryn – guest artists at the gala concert. Looking ahead, Vesnivka has been invited to the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival this summer. Next year, Vesnivka will be on stage at Koerner Hall with Orpheus Choir of Toronto as well as other artists and musicians for a marquee concert celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday and the 125th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada. It will showcase the works of Canadian composers John Estacio (The Houses Stand Not Far Apart) and Larysa Kuzmenko (The Golden Harvest). When Robert Cooper, artistic director of Chorus Niagara and Orpheus Choir of Toronto, took on the project, Kondracki was the first person he called. They were introduced back in the 80s while Cooper was a producer of choral music at the CBC Radio and headed up the national choral competitions. “Vesnivka always won,” (in the multicultural category) says Cooper who is also artistic director of Opera in Concert Chorus and Ontario Male Chorus. Cooper worked with Kondracki in 2006 when Vesnivka joined more than 250 Canadian singers and musicians onstage at Roy Thomson Hall for “Chernobyl 20,” commemorating the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in Ukraine. “I’m very aware of Kvitka’s good work,” Cooper continues noting under Kondracki’s leadership that Vesnivka has maintained “a very high order of choral sophistication…I enjoy working with Kvitka who is very authentic, very serious about her music, is an expert when it comes to Ukrainian choral music and makes things happen.” While the future is exciting, the focus this evening is on the 50th anniversary program. I settle into my seat as Kondracki raises her arms and Vesnivka begins to rehearse. The room fills with the glorious sound of music. I close my eyes and let my spirit soar. Vesnivka on tour in St. John’s, Newfoundland; Halyna Kvitka Kondracki (top, centre) Leslie Ferenc is a member of the Vesnivka 50th anniversary committee. 12 | April 1, 2016 - May 7, 2016 thewholenote.com

CARMEN Bizet TICKETS FROM $ 50 CARMEN PRODUCTION SPONSOR 13 PERFORMANCES ONLY APRIL 12 – MAY 15 Sung in French with English SURTITLES coc.ca 416-363-8231 BMO FINANCIAL GROUP PRE-PERFORMANCE OPERA CHATS & STUDENT DRESS REHEARSALS LA TRAVIATA GENEROUSLY UNDERWRITTEN IN PART BY OFFICIAL AUTOMOTIVE SPONSOR PRESENTING SPONSOR OF SURTITLES PRESENTING SPONSOR OF OPERA UNDER 30 AND OPERANATION PREFERRED CREDIT CARD TD ® AEROPLAN ® VISA INFINITE PRIVILEGE * A scene from Carmen (COC 2010), photo: Michael Cooper

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2019)

Volume 25 Issue 4 - December 2019 / January 2020
Volume 25 Issue 2 - October 2019
Volume 25 Issue 1 - September 2019
Volume 24 Issue 8 - May 2019
Volume 24 Issue 7 - April 2019
Volume 24 Issue 6 - March 2019
Volume 24 Issue 5 - February 2019
Volume 24 Issue 4 - December 2018 / January 2019
Volume 24 Issue 3 - November 2018
Volume 24 Issue 2 - October 2018
Volume 24 Issue 1 - September 2018
Volume 23 Issue 9 - June / July / August 2018
Volume 23 Issue 8 - May 2018
Volume 23 Issue 7 - April 2018
Volume 23 Issue 6 - March 2018
Volume 23 Issue 4 - December 2017 / January 2018
Volume 23 Issue 3 - November 2017
Volume 23 Issue 2 - October 2017
Volume 23 Issue 1 - September 2017
Volume 22 Issue 9 - Summer 2017
Volume 22 Issue 8 - May 2017
Volume 22 Issue 7 - April 2017
Volume 22 Issue 6 - March 2017
Volume 22 Issue 5 - February 2017
Volume 22 Issue 4 - December 2016/January 2017
Volume 22 Issue 2 - October 2016
Volume 22 Issue 1 - September 2016
Volume 21 Issue 9 - Summer 2016
Volume 21 Issue 8 - May 2016
Volume 21 Issue 6 - March 2016
Volume 21 Issue 5 - February 2016
Volume 21 Issue 4 - December 2015/January 2016
Volume 21 Issue 3 - November 2015
Volume 21 Issue 2 - October 2015
Volume 21 Issue 1 - September 2015

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