Winnipeg’s O. Koshetz Choir and the Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies present Roman Hurko’s Vespers: A Contemporary Interpretation Rooted in Tradition
In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, the O. Koshetz Choir in collaboration with the Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies presents “Vespers: A Contemporary Interpretation Rooted in Tradition”, featuring the Manitoba premiere of the music of Roman Hurko. The public is invited to attend this free event on Saturday, May 13th at St. Mary the Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, 820 Burrows Ave. in Winnipeg. At 3 PM in the parish hall, New-York-based composer Roman Hurko will offer a pre-service presentation (in English) on Vespers and his artistic influences. The Vespers service will be celebrated at 4 PM in the Cathedral by Fr. Alexander Harkavyj, with responses sung in Church Slavonic by Winnipeg’s O. Koshetz Choir under the direction of Miroslava Paches. A collection will be taken with 100% of the proceeds donated to United Way of Winnipeg’s “Help Refugees” campaign. Following the service all attendees are invited to a reception in the parish hall, sponsored by University of Manitoba’s St. Andrew’s College.
Vespers are the evening prayer service of the Eastern rite church. Because the liturgical day begins at sunset, early evening Vespers are the first service of the daily cycle of divine services. As the world falls into darkness, a natural theme for evening worship is the need and anticipation of light.“Celebrating Vespers in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary seemed a great idea on a number of levels,” noted O. Koshetz Choir president Scott Armstrong. “As a community, we are very proud to display our unique Ukrainian culture and our pride as Canadians in equal measure. In 2016, Ukrainian Canadians celebrated the 125th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada. Most of our choir members and composer Roman Hurko are Canadian-born citizens. By collecting funds in support of the United Way’s “Help Refugees” campaign, we hope to pay forward the blessings that a new life in Canada offered our forefathers.”
Roman Hurko is an American-Canadian of Ukrainian descent. A graduate of the University of Toronto (Music History and Theory), as well as the Yale Institute of Sacred Music (Master of Arts in Religion), he has also studied privately with composer Ivan Moody in Portugal. Mr. Hurko has composed and recorded five major pieces of sacred music, three complete settings of The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, as well as Panachyda/Requiem for the Victims of Chornobyl, and Vespers. In September of 2005, Vespers was premiered in Kyiv’s Pecherska Lavra (Monastery of the Caves) as the opening concert to the 16th KyivFest International Music Festival.
The O. Koshetz Choir is one of Manitoba’s longest-running community choirs. For more than 70 years, the nearly 60-member chorus has worked to keep Ukrainian choral music a vibrant entity in Canada. The group originated from summer music courses conducted by Maestro Oleksander and Tetyana Koshetz at the Ukrainian National Federation Hall in Winnipeg. For five decades, the choir flourished under the leadership of Walter Klymkiw, travelled internationally and gained a reputation as one of Manitoba’s most noted community choirs. In 1992, the choir became the first cultural entity outside of Ukraine to be awarded the prestigious Shevchenko medal and was lauded for “meritorious bridging work between Canada and Ukraine and propagation of Ukraine’s musical heritage.” Since 2008, the choir has been led by conductor Miroslava Paches. A Registered Music Teacher and graduate of the Lviv State Music Academy, Faculty of Theory and Composition with a Major in Musicianship, Miroslava has a keen creative interest in music, having composed and arranged numerous compositions for the choir to perform. Her first exposure to the O. Koshetz Choir was as a music student attending one of the group’s concerts in Ukraine.
The mission of University of Manitoba’s Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies is to create, preserve and communicate knowledge relating to Ukrainian Canadian culture and scholarship. Established in 1981, the Centre provides undergraduate courses and interdisciplinary programs of study in areas relating to Ukrainian Canadian culture. The Centre also encourages and promotes research and scholarship in all areas relating to Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Studies.