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Ormstown church hosts concert for a Ukrainian soldier

The story begins on a park bench. On the weekend of the Ormstown Fair, Bobby Bourgeois, an avid cyclist, rested on a bench in Lindsay-Cullen Park in Ormstown, just across the street from the 200-year-old St. James Anglican Church. Impressed by the interior of the church, and the acoustics, he had an idea.

“It was perfect for Maryna,” he said. Bourgeois was talking about Maryna Krejcarova, a friend he had met through an online West Island Ukrainian relief group. Krejcarova is a Ukrainian-Canadian soprano who has been raising funds for her family and the people who remain in that war-torn country. The Church approved of the concert, and the next day he contacted Maryna, and sent pictures of the church. “Let’s do it!” was her reply.

The performance

On Sunday, August 13, St. James hosted “The Concert for a Wounded Soldier in Ukraine.” Krejcarova was accompanied by pianist Wael Giovanni Carta, with Kostiontyn Kondratenko on violin.

 

Maryna Krejcarova performs the final song of the afternoon accompanied by violinist Kostiontyn Kondratenko and pianist Wael Giovanni Carta PHOTO Yvonne Lewis Langlois

 

The concert opened with two Irish tunes, Carrickfergus and Down by the Salley Gardens, played by Valley locals Bob Ireland on flute and recorder, and Gordon Furey on 12-string guitar. The audience was silent as the sun came out and suddenly the church was filled with light streaming through the stained-glass windows and the lilting notes of the Irish ballads.

Krejcarova then welcomed the 45 people in attendance. She spoke of her 17 years in Ukraine, five years in the Czech Republic, and her 20 years in Canada. “I fell in love with Canada!” she exclaimed. Between the musical pieces, Krejcarova spoke with animation of how, over the years, she was unable to go back to Ukraine for family events. “When the war in Ukraine started, I finally understood why I am here.” She felt that she could help from her home in Canada.

The soldier

Krejcarova has performed in Montreal and across the country raising money for Ukraine, but when a bullet shattered the shoulder of her 27-year-old cousin who was fighting in Ukraine, she began to focus her fundraising on that cause. “He has had six operations on his shoulder. The doctors say that he needs an implant. In Ukraine the operations are very expensive. I took the initiative to help him. He needs $40,000 for this operation,” she says.

 

Maryna Krejcarova sings For I Love You by Franz Lehar accompanied by Wael Giovanni Carta on piano PHOTO Yvonne Lewis Langlois

 

Violinist Kondratenko performed one dramatic solo. Many of the other songs were performed in Ukrainian, with the exception of Victor Hugo’s Reve D’Amour which Krejcarova sang in French. The soprano broke from the classical music to perform George Gershwin’s Summertime in English.

There was a standing ovation at the end of the two-hour concert, with Krejcarova thanking everyone for their donations. “I wish not to sing for war. I want this to stop,” she said.

To learn more about Maryna Krejcarova and the GoFundMe page, go to https://gofund.me/8cfb4bf8.

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