Razom Says Dyakuyu – Thank You – to the organizers and participants of the Benefit Concert for Ukraine at the UCCS

We are excited to share with you our series Razom Says Dyakuyu. “Dyakuyu” means “thank you” in Ukrainian. Our work supporting Ukraine and getting humanitarian aid on the ground where it is needed most, would not be possible without the generous donations made by donors. With this series, we are highlighting some of the amazing donors and unique fundraisers that have supported Razom.

Razom expresses deep gratitude to the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS) for the Benefit Concert for Ukraine its faculty members organized on April 30, 2022. The event paid tribute to Ukrainian music and culture. Razom was chosen as one of the beneficiaries and received around $7,000 raised from ticket sales. The donation was put towards Razom’s Emergency Response Project.

“The idea behind the concert was to raise funds for Ukrainian refugees, while celebrating Ukrainian culture and music,” said lead organizer Haleh Abghari, a UCCS music instructor. “Aside from killing innocent Ukrainians and displacing them, the war is also an attack on their culture and identity. Putin’s war is a brutal attempt to erase that culture. That’s why we felt it was important to highlight and celebrate it.” 

Abghari co-organized the event along with Eugenia Olesnicky and Dmytro Bozhko, who both have Ukrainian roots. 

Internationally renowned performers were on stage that Saturday evening at the Ent Center for the Arts at UCCS. “This event is more than just a fundraiser,” Eugenia Olesnicky said. “It is an opportunity to honor and experience Ukrainian culture.” 

Pianists, cellists, violinists, flutists, and even a bandurist came together along with dancers, singers, choreographers, and artistic directors to put on an incredible program showcasing the beauty of Ukrainian culture. All of the artists donated their talent in solidarity with and support of Ukraine through these difficult times of violence and invasion.

Abghari, who was born in Iran and raised during the Iran-Iraq War, said: “My family left Iran during the war and moved to the US as the situation became more dangerous. I didn’t experience any of the horrors millions of Ukrainians are experiencing now, and I was well protected. Yet, I have vivid memories of air attacks and I witnessed what it does to a population, especially children, and I’m fully against such acts of violence.”

From Ukrainian folk song “During Dark Night” to “Lullaby for Ukraine” by composers Myroslav Skoryk and Olexandr Vratariov to Taras Petrinenko’s “Ukraine,” the audience was treated to some of the treasures Ukrainian culture has to offer. 

For those in attendance, some of the music was likely new to them while some was rediscovered — such as Mykola Leontovych’s “Shchedryk,” which many in the West know as “Carol of the Bells.” Introducing Leontovych’s composition, Deborah Teske, conductor of the Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble, spoke to the non-Christmas origins of “Shchedryk,” pointing out “many of you will probably recognize [it] as ‘Carol of the Bells,’ a Christmas song. But in its original Ukrainian, it’s not a Christmas song; it is a song about new year and refreshment and renewal.”

Razom greatly appreciates the hard work and solidarity that went into creating this two and a half hour program during which people came together to support and learn more about Ukraine. We also know that this solidarity extends well into the overall life of the community at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. “Here at UCCS, we work at all levels to provide help to displaced scholars and students. I am very proud of everyone who joins these efforts,” Bozhko said.

Razom and all the people who we’ve been able to support on the ground in Ukraine during the war say “dyakuyu” to the concert organizers and participants at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

You can watch and enjoy the full concert here.

/* */