As part of the Peoples’ Philharmonic art project, concerts are being held for the military all over Ukraine. The project includes Raisa Nedashkivska, a well-known theater and film actress; Taras Kompanichenko, a kobza and lyre player, Valerii Hladunets, a member of the bands Bozhychi and PoliKarp; musicians of the bands Khoreia Kozatska, Taruta, and Horlytsia; composers Iryna Kyrylina and Lesia Horova, singers-songwriters Volodymyr Honsky and Tetiana Volodai; international contest prize winners Ruslana Lotsman, Artem Khomanko; historians; professors and students; Public Television journalists; correspondents; Road Watch activists, et al.
“We decided to visit military units because these places really need us. We have already done a concert program known as Easter Day in the Army,” says the project coordinator Ruslana Lotsman. “The People’s Artiste of Ukraine Raisa Nedashkivska brought the Holy Fire to the soldiers. Her participation in the concerts was an outright surprise. She captivated the audience with interesting monologs and brilliant reminiscences of her long theater and film career. Concerts have already been held at army and border security units in Chernihiv oblast; Ochakiv; Mykolaiv, Odesa, and Kyiv oblasts.
“The ancient canticles and rebel songs sung by the Khoreia Kozatska band frontman Taras Kompanichenko were full of a high patriotic spirit. During her poetry recitals, Raisa Nedashkivska combined prayer appeals with the words of sincere gratitude to and pride in our warriors whom fate decreed to defend our state. People’s Philharmonic participants also visited the Ukrainian servicemen who had left the occupied Crimea and were now stationed in Odesa. Taruta band leaders Olena and Yevgen Romanenko drew thunderous applause for the way their inflammatory songs, rhythmic tunes, and folklore melodies inspired the audience. They sang a traditional Ukrainian song about a warship to sailors. The concert’s star attraction was a brilliant joint number, when People’s Philharmonic artistes and servicemen performed the song ‘Captain’ in three languages. At some units in southern Ukraine, we were also welcomed by the families of the servicemen who had abandoned their Crimean homes and were temporarily staying at Odesa oblast and Mykolaiv health centers. The three-hour-long concert brought the artistes and servicemen closer together, and they all sang the Anthem of Ukraine and ‘Oh God, Almighty and Only’ in the finale.”
The People’s Philharmonic was not empty-handed, whenever it visited a military unit. A lot of activists were willing to help the Ukrainian army: for example, Cherkasy oblast residents sent a busload of relief supplies to the naval officers and men and sweets and toys to their children, some benefactors handed over electric kettles and irons (villagers from Shpola raion of Cherkasy oblast, the staff of Interpap Ltd.), and all kinds of other donations.
Incidentally, Volodymyr Honsky, a public activist, political writer, singer-songwriter, and Euromaidan speaker, presented the Chernihiv oblast military with about 200 historical books on the glorious warriors of yesterday and today.
“The idea of peace has brought our hearts and souls closer together. Those were always warm meetings, although there were also some frightful moments when we performed at military units in Sumy oblast that borders on Russia. Antitank trenches create the absolute impression of a front line. It is important that the people’s patriotic spirit is high and everybody knows that only together can we overcome the difficulties that have befallen Ukraine,’ Nedashkivska confesses.
The ultimate goal of the People’s Philharmonic project is to help Ukraine preserve its integrity, ensure peace and unity among the people, raise the morale of the Ukrainian army, and encourage recruitment to the National Guard (the project is also being supported by Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Defense).