'Hope for Ukraine' concert brings musicians from war-torn country to … – WUSF Public Media

The Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus was created and began performing sacred classical music in 1993.
Before then, religious pieces like Handel’s Messiah and Brahms’ Requiem, were banned under 70 years of Communist rule.
The 2023 tour marks the ensemble’s thirteenth return to concert venues in the U.S. But for the first time, the group will not include men.
That’s because the male performers in the KSOC are not permitted to travel outside Ukraine during wartime.
“The ladies see this as an opportunity to do their part to help the soldiers on the front line, to help those recovering and this is how they can use their skills to bring attention to Ukraine and raise support,” said Greg Kannon CEO of the nonprofit, Music Mission Kiev, which is sponsoring the tour.
The organization was founded by Roger McMurrin, a Florida-based church music director, who was invited to Ukraine in 1993 to conduct Handel’s Messiah. He hired 37 professional singers and a local orchestra for that performance.
Kannon notes that when the Iron Curtain lifted, the religious music became known to Ukrainian musicians, as “an explosion of light.”
When our group sings, especially in Ukraine, the response from people and the way it touches them, it has become that hope in the midst of this darkness,” he said.
The ‘Hope for Kiev’ concert takes place Sunday afternoon at 4 at First Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg. The show is free but there will be an offering taken during intermission. Money raised will support victims of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has left millions of people without basic needs including food, shelter and medicine.
Matt Clear, Director of Traditional Worship Music and the Arts at First Presbyterian Church stated, “When we see news on the television, or read an article about the atrocities taking place in Ukraine, I think we all feel somewhat powerless and ill-equipped to help the people who are impacted. I think this concert/mission project creates a tangible way that we can render assistance through the power of music and humanitarian aid that these funds provide.”


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