A standing ovation was the response from audiences in the South Okanagan last February for a group of Ukrainian dancers from Calgary.
Those same dancers, the Tryzub Junior Ukrainian Dance Troupe, are about to land in the Comox Valley to perform to audiences in the Comox Valley and Campbell River this coming week for the “Still Standing With Ukraine” fundraising concerts.
The Tryzub dancers are waiving their performance fee while bringing their dancing talents in support of Ukrainian newcomers in the North Island. They will be joined on-stage with acclaimed singer, Ihor Bohdan, and Nezlamna the Comox Valley Ukrainian Choir.
Andy Frost, Fundraising Chair, says that in conjunction with the Comox Valley Ukrainian Cultural Society (CVUCS) and the Ukraine Nightingale Project based in the Okanagan, the show in the Comox Valley at the Sid Williams Theatre has almost sold out while there are still some seats available in Campbell River at the Tidemark Theatre.
Local business sponsors and governments, as well as church groups, service clubs and an army of volunteers have reached into their pockets to support our new Ukrainian friends and neighbours on the North Island.
According to Janette Martin-Lutzer, the president of the CVUCS, once the newcomers settle into the safe and peaceful routine of the North Island, the differences are like night and day. The shift from worried anxiety to relieved smiles is extremely telling. Janette adds that it takes a community to welcome these almost 200 newcomers. Volunteers with CVUCS say that the Ukrainian newcomers are extremely grateful to Canada in general for opening its doors and especially for the welcome they’re receiving every day from members of our communities.
Touring director of the Tryzub dancers, John Stadnyk, is hopeful that the response from our communities will be as powerful as it was in the South Okanagan. When they’re not dancing, the youth dancers will be shuttled around doing photo ops with sponsors in both the Comox Valley and Campbell River.
Stadnyk, a dancer himself, says that the Tryzub kids are selfless and hard-working. They dance for the love of it and for their love of their culture.
Ukrainian newcomers in the North Island still need generous assistance from the community in the form of host families, volunteers, donations of merchandise or dollars. Two fundraising concerts, Still Standing With Ukraine have been scheduled for the Comox Valley on September 21 at the Sid Williams Theatre and in Campbell River on September 23 at the Tidemark Theatre. For more information about how to help and to reserve tickets to an evening of high energy talented entertainment visit the Tidemark Theatre website at https://tickets.tidemarktheatre.com/TheatreManager/1/tmEvent/tmEvent1091.html .