The student choir of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) toured various cities on the East Coast of the USA in early June. A report with many photos follows>>>

Following the June 4 installation of UCU President Borys Gudziak as Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Philadelphia, the choir stopped at the Ukrainian cemetery in Bound Brook, NJ, where the parents of Metropolitan Borys are buried. And June 12 was the first anniversary of the death of his mother, Jaroslawa Gudziak. Fr. Luka Mykhaylovych, UCU chaplain, who accompanied the choir, celebrated a panakhyda (memorial service) at the grave of the parents of Metropolitan Borys.

The choir stopped at St. Basil Seminary in Stamford. Every morning the choir sang Divine Liturgy in the chapel of St. Basil Seminary, with Bishop Paul Chomnycky and Fr. Rector Bohdan Tymchyshyn celebrating. On the first day, Fr. Rector led a tour and spoke about the notable history of the seminary and its graduates.

The first performance was on June 13 at St. George’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in New York. The students sang the Divine Liturgy and then gave a short concert for the Ukrainian community of St. George’s. At the end of the concert, the Basilian Fathers invited all present to the lower hall for a snack and conversation. Svitlana, a parishioner at St. George’s, said: “The angelic singing of these young students transformed our daily lives into a little holiday.”

The next day, Friday June 14, Larry Tremsky, director of music at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City, NY, organized and conducted an excursion through New York for the choir members. The students had perfect weather for a lot of walking, visiting the High Line, Chelsea Market, the World Trade Center, and Ground Zero, and then crossed the Brooklyn Bridge.

In the evening, the students sang a wonderful concert for the congregation at the Cathedral of the Incarnation.

On Saturday morning, the students had breakfast with the family of our graduate, Iryna Zaluzhna-Lencyk, and her husband, Andrew Lencyk. Andrew and Iryna are active members of the New York Friends of UCU Committee and shared stories about Ukrainian life in Stamford and New York.

On Saturday afternoon, the students took part in the Yonkers [NY] Ukrainian Heritage Festival, where they presented UCU programs and summer schools together with Roman Vaskiv, the representative of UCU/UCEF in New York. At 7 p.m., the students sang four folk songs with modern arrangements during a concert at the festival. The students also had the opportunity to thank Ukrainian organizations in Yonkers for their support: St Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church, Meest-America.Inc, Suma Federal Credit Union, and many others.

On Sunday morning, the students sang a Pontifical Divine Liturgy at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Whippany, NJ, at which Metropolitan Archbishop of Philadelphia Borys Gudziak presided. After the solemn service, a festive lunch was held on the occasion of the first pastoral visit of Archbishop Borys. Civic and youth organizations and the Ukrainian school read greetings for Archbishop Borys and then there was a festive concert prepared by the Plast and CYM organizations of Whippany. At the end of the concert, the UCU choir, which performed some Ukrainian folk songs in a modern arrangement, sang “Mnohaya Lita” (many years) for the organizers and all guests of the event.

At this opportunity, we want to express sincere thanks for help in organizing the musical tour.

Thanks to:

Roman Vaskiv, who planned all the logistics and arranged locations, performances and marketing & advertisement, and took care of food, lodging, and transportation for all the choir members

Fr. Bohdan Tymchyshyn, Rector of St. Basil Ukrainian Catholic Seminary, for the reception and hospitality at the seminary

Fr. Emilian Dorosh for the invitation to sing at St. George’s Church

Larry Tremsky for the students’ tour and inviting them to sing at the Cathedral of the Incarnation

Very Rev Kiril Angelov and Oleh Bilovus for the invitation to perform at the Ukrainian festival in Yonkers, which was organized by the community of the Ukrainian Catholic Church of St Michael the Archangel.

And Rev. Stepan Bilyk for the invitation to sing at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church.

We want to express special thanks to the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation and all its benefactors for exceptional prayerful and financial support, which allowed this concert tour to happen.

Thanks to all whom we mentioned and didn’t mention, who helped in this musical-educational project and gave the UCU students an unforgettable experience!

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