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 The grand finale of the Ukrainian Concert


The busiest and most exciting day of Ukrainian Week is Thursday, the day of the concert. The Ukrainian concert is the most important event of the week, and the culmination of many hours of practice and preparation. It involves all the staff and students of  IHMS, as well as hundreds of visitors to the school.


Excited  kindergarten “sheep” on their way to the gym for the concert


On Thursday, March 26th, 2015, the K-8 students of IHMS gave two excellent performances of  Legends of the Carpathians!.
The format was very similar to last December’s Christmas concerts – a dress rehearsal at 1:30 in the afternoon and a second main performance at 7:00 in the evening. Since most parents came that evening, the matinee performance was an excellent way for the students to tighten up their act while performing in front of a smaller live audience.


Grade 1 students pose for a group photo before the matinee performance


   Click here for  the Ukrainian Concert program   


Grade 7 girls collecting cash donations at the gym entrance


Legends of the Carpathians!” was a K-8 concert that showcased the customs and traditions of the Hutsuls – a group of people who live in the remote mountainous region of southwestern Ukraine. The story was told through narration, short skits, and various musical numbers interspersed throughout the concert.


The colourful bulletin board that greeted guests as they entered the gym


A Brief Description of the Ukrainian Concert

trembita As the concert begins, the two narrators (Roman M. and Arsen Y.), announce that a horn called a trembita is used by the Hutsuls every year on the Feast of St. Jurij. The sound of the horn is used to call villagers together before the shepherds take their sheep to the highlands to graze during the spring and summer months.
As the concert progresses, the shepherds set off with their sheep. But along the way, some of the smaller sheep (portrayed by the kindergartens) become lost after wandering off into dangerous woods. sheepcute
axe1 While the shepherds (portrayed by the grade 1 students) set up camp, they pass time playing the flute while the woodsmen (portrayed by the grade 2 students) set off into the forest to take care of the woodchopping.
The shepherds set a ritual campfire at the camp where the sheep graze. The fire serves not only to ward off wild animals, but was believed to bring good luck, and remained lit for the entire grazing season. This campfire was the perfect place to share stories and legends. campfire
dragon9 One of the most popular legends was about the pysanka – the Ukrainian Easter egg. Hutsuls believed that the fate of the world depended on the pysanka. As long as the custom of making pysanka continues, the world will exist. If abandoned, evil, in the shape of a horrible serpent will overrun the world. Each year, the serpent counts the number of pysanka created. If the number is low, the chains holding the serpent are loosened. If the numbers increase, the chains are tightened and good triumphs over evil. Carpathian boys and girls keep the custom of the pysanka very much alive. This Hutsul legend of the Pysanka was sung by the grade 3 students.
The narration continues about another legend told around the campfire by the Hutsuls – the legend of a Ukrainian Robin Hood with superhuman powers and courage called Oleska Dovbush. To the Hutsuls, Oleska Dovbush was a hero, who with his band of freedom fighters, the Opryshky, brought justice to the people, freeing peasants wrongfully imprisoned and robbing rich foreign landlords to give to the poor. One legend tells of a heavy rock unmovable by all until Dovbush lifted the rock and threw it onto a landlord’s castle, instantly destroying it.
rock1 Dovbush later took the rock and placed it for all to see that the strength of the Ukrainian nation is as hard as a rock. The grade 7 & 8 boys sang about the Hutsul freedom fighter, Oleska Dovbush, and afterwards the grade 7 and 8 girls performed a very lively song and dance.
The campfire was also the perfect place for singing and dancing, and it was here that various Hutsul legends were portrayed by the grade 4 students. The melodies of Kolomyjky and the Arkan would often echo into the Carpathian night. campfire2
The story continued with the legend of the melodies of the Troisti Muzyky, as portrayed by grade 6 students. The origin of the musical trio began when three handsome musicians fell in love with a village beauty. To choose whom to marry, the maiden asked each of her suitors to play their instrument in the village square. The one chosen as the best musician would become her husband. Each played so beautifully on their instrument, the skrypka, sopilka and tsymbaly, that the people couldn’t decide. They asked them to play together.
TroistiMuzyky  The music they produced was so exquisite that to separate them would have been a terrible mistake. And so the three musicians remained single, but became famous as the Troisti Muzyky.
The final scene, portrayed by the grade 5 class, was very similar to the previous scene – a beautiful, young maiden choses a husband from three different suitors. Each suitor attempts to win her hand in marriage by presenting her with various gifts.
The story ends with the maiden choosing a husband while the grade 5 students dance around the newly married couple singing the song: “Who Cannot Fall in Love With a Hutsul?”. bridegroom


The two narrators Roman M. and Arsen Y. at the beginning of the concert


 Click here for additional Ukrainian concert photos 




Thank you to our Ukrainian/Music teacher, Mrs. Stanowych, who wrote the narrative script for the concert, prepared the students for all the songs, and directed the concert! This was a lot of work, and involved weeks of rehearsals to make sure everything was just perfect. Thank you also to the rest of the IHMS staff for their various contributions to the concert. A lot of hard work and effort went into its preparation, but it was well worth it. The audience seemed to enjoy themselves, and “Legends of the Carpathians!” appeared to be a great success!


Grade 7 and 8 girls singing a song around the campfire


Professionally filmed DVD’s of  “Legends of the Carpathians!” will be available for purchase through the school office. lightsw3




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