Western students use the art of song to show support for Ukraine

After several months of practicing, students from Western University’s Don Wright faculty of music put on a music recital on Friday evening to show their support for Ukraine.

the Songs for Ukraine, recital took place at the Paul Davenport Theatre, and consisted of 23 original songs followed by the Ukrainian anthem and a prayer at the end.

Olena Bratishko, an event organizer, pianist and vocal coach said the recital is their way of showing solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

“This was actually supposed to be a regular studio recital which usually happens twice a year,” said Bratishko.

James Westman’s students have been practicing Ukrainian art songs since October of last year. But the meaning behind the songs changed once Russia placed Ukraine under attack in February.

“When the war broke out we decided okay, maybe we should put it on a larger scale and do fundraising as well,” he said.

A singer and pianist perform during the Songs for Ukraine recital at Western University. (Jennifer Basa/CTV News)Originally, Westman’s students began practicing Ukrainian songs in the fall as it is part of Bratishko’s heritage.

“You always want to tell the students to heal your audience. Now they have an opportunity to do so,” said Westman, a professor and opera singer.

Westman told CTV News that some of the Ukrainian songs that their students sang date back 50 to 80 years.

“It’s amazing to go back and look at the poetry and how it talks about the struggles of the Ukrainian people,” he added.

While admission to the show was free, people were encouraged to donate to the London Ukrainian Centre.

“We wanted to give back to the Ukrainian community in London,” Westman said.

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