Newsletter #28: Cultural Diplomacy. An opportunity to be a part of musical history of Ukraine and of the U.S.

Dear Razom Community,

This week we want to shine a spotlight on a very special event coming to New York City this holiday season and warmly invite you to Notes From Ukraine, a concert on Sunday, December 4, 2022 at Carnegie Hall dedicated to 100 years of “Shchedryk” and highlighting Ukrainian music and the connections between Ukrainian and American cultures.

A hundred years ago Ukrainians used the soft power of music to preserve and promote their independence, and today Ukrainian artists are once again turning to culture to communicate with the world.

On October 5, 1922, the Ukrainian Republic Capella performed Mykola Leontovych’s “Shchedryk” in New York City’s Carnegie Hall for the first time to North American audiences, sparking its journey to becoming the beloved Christmas classic known around the world as “Carol of the Bells.”  Back then, the concert was a part of a cultural diplomacy missionlaunched in 1919 to promote awareness of Ukrainian independence in Europe and the Americas and to counter Russian propaganda.  Under the auspices of the head of the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR), Symon Petliura, and the Ministries of Education, Arts and Foreign Affairs, the national choir performed more than 200 concerts in North America alone at major halls and universities.  The Capella shared Ukraine’s unique choral tradition while promoting the country’s sovereignty and distinctiveness from “the russian world.” 

Check out this video to learn more about the incredible and little-known history of one of the most beloved Christmas melodies around the world and its origins. 

Notes from Ukraine on December 4th will be a culmination of the collective dreaming, vision, and work of many people, over many years.

Produced by Ukrainian Institute-KyivUkrainian Contemporary Music Festival (UCMF), and us (Razom), it will feature performances by world-famous choral artists from Ukraine and North America, including Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York (as featured on SNL), Kyiv-based, Ukrainian Children’s Choir ShchedrykTheChoir of Trinity Wall Street, along with special guests, including soprano, Janai Brugger, and Toronto-based Ukrainian folk singer, Marichka Marczyk.  The program features a world premiere by composer Trevor Weston, setting the words of Ukrainian Nobel Prize-nominated poet, Serhiy Zhadan (a RazomPartner via the Serhi Zhadan Charitable Foundation) , as well as American choral works with Ukrainian connections by composers Eric WhitacreLeonard BernsteinValentyn SylvestrovGeorge Gershwin, and others.

This project has never been as important as it is today, when the identity of Ukraine is again under threat and russia’s missiles have targeted cultural sites across the country.  In buying a ticket to this concert you will not only discover amazing Ukrainian music and support Ukrainian musical artists and composers, but also become a part of Ukraine’s reconstruction.  Proceeds from this event will go to United24 and allocated to the reconstruction of public services. 

Notes From Ukraine is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations, and the Embassy of Ukraine in the USA.  We are grateful for our sponsor Samopomich, Self Reliance Federal Credit Union of New York, and we are looking for more sponsors to become a part this momentous event for the Ukrainian-American diaspora in the U.S. and music lovers in NYC.  

If you’re interested in sponsoring, contact

We hope to see you all together on December 4th at Carnegie Hall, but before then there are several other great opportunities to connect with Ukraine with events across the country.  Here’s a few to put on your radar: 

  1. The Kennedy Center Concert Hall, the world’s leading national stage will showcase a Benefit Concert for Ukraine on October 18 at 7:30PM.  The concert features joint performance by American violinist, Grammy Award-winner and global superstar, Joshua Bell, and the internationally acclaimed New Era Orchestra from Ukraine.
  2. Upcoming premier screenings of Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom with director Evgeny Afineevsky scheduled to attend.  Catch a moving, behind the headlines account of the Ukrainian people’s resistance and resilience during the 2022 Russian invasion.  With unprecedented access to the events on the ground, it weaves together personal stories of civilians, soldiers, journalists, and international volunteers to give voice to the people whose lives have been turned upside down. 
  3. Brooklyn (home of the Brooklyn Cyclones Stadium) welcomes the Ukrainian National Baseball Team for charity baseball games to raise funds to rebuild Ukraine’s youth sports facilities and infrastructure.  You’ll have a chance to meet some Ukrainian heroes (baseball players who are members of the Ukrainian military), while helping to raise awareness about the ongoing war in Ukraine.  There are two games, each of which include pre-game performances and ceremonies, post-game fireworks, and raffle and silent auction opportunities. General admission is free, but you have to reserve your tickets here
    • Game 1: Team Ukraine vs NYPD Baseball on Friday, October 14 @ 7:00PM w/ pre-game performances and ceremonies starting @ 6:00PM.
    • Game 2: Team Ukraine vs FDNY Baseball on Saturday, October 15 @ 2:00PM w/ pre-game performances and activities starting @ 1:00PM.
  4. Bar 9 Piano Bar in NYC, along with the NYC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Bronx School of Music, the Hellenic Progressive Association: Peter Karanous Bx Chapter #175, and the National Association of Real Estate Brokersare hosting a Musical Jam and Fundraiser for Ukraine on Wednesday, October 12 @ 6:00PM.  Our own Alex Pryrodny will be one of the performers and fundraising for Razom!  You can buy your ticket and even watch the event virtually here
  5. The Oxbow Gallery in Easthampton, MA will be showing a series of new oil paintings by Joanne Holtje, “Lamentations,” from October 27-November 27, 2022.  Begun in early 2022, this series served as a way for her to bear witness to the horror of the invasion of Ukraine.  The proceeds of sales from the show, plus an additional 20% match from an anonymous donor will be donated to Razom. 
  6. KAZKA is back in the US for its “I’m Ukraine” tour that will kick off with a charity concert at New York’s Melrose Ballroom on November 4 @ 9:00PM.  You can also catch them in Miami, Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco.  Get your tickets here


Monday, October 24th, 2022

Understanding and celebrating different culture is a necessity for peace and tolerance.  Ukraine will have fought a horrific full blown war for 8 consecutive months on October 24th.  What has lead Ukrainians to victory, time and time again, is the pride we share in our culture, and it’s what we want to share with the rest of the world.

This is an invitation for you to be a part of an international worldwide social media fundraising campaign for Razom.  We have selected 10 Ukrainian mythological characters to highlight this Halloween season.  If you choose to participate we would love to share these myths with you and let you create freely.  The task is to create (art, music, dance, make up, fashion, etc) based on the myth assigned to you and to post this content on October 24th under the hashtag #UkrainianHalloween.  Our team will not be micromanaging your process and we want to emphasize that this will be your work inspired by Ukrainian culture.  All forms of artistry and creation are welcomed and encouraged.

This project’s goals are:
–  Celebrate and highlight Ukrainian culture in a unique way
–  Celebrate Ukrainian supporters through our close collaboration on #UkrainianHalloween
–  Fundraise for an imminent victory against our aggressor and also for the immediate rebuilding of a terrorized nation

To participate please go to our Instagram profile and click the #UkrainianHalloween link in our heylink!

Questions to: @aleksandr.krapivkin
Illustration by: @bubblegum_effect

Razom was one of the winners of the 2022 Innovators Awards in Global Affairs from Network 20/20, their premier event showcasing emerging innovation, global leadership, and people-to-people diplomacy.  The gala brought together prominent global leaders, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, academics, and corporate supporters.  Razom’s President, Dora Chomiak and Vice President, Lyuba Shipovich spoke at the gala and accepted the Communication and Civic Engagement award on Razom’s behalf!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read about all the meaningful ways you can support Ukraine and immerse yourself and learn from its culture.  We sincerely hope to see you at all of these incredible events because we’ll be there! 

In our next newsletter installment, we’ll be sharing a deep dive into some new projects recently started by Razom as well as updates on our long standing work.  There are some great stories coming your way.

Stay razom.

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