Faithful From New York – New Jersey Parishes Gather At The Ukrainian Cultural Center For Sixth Annual “Caroling For Christ” Concert
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Faithful From New York – New Jersey Parishes Gather At The Ukrainian Cultural Center For Sixth Annual “Caroling For Christ” Concert

One of the most joyful spiritual events at our Metropolia Center during the celebration of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the annual CAROLING FOR CHRIST concert sponsored by the UOC of USA Consistory and the St. Andrew School of Ukrainian Studies centered in the Ukrainian Cultural Center.  This year was no exception with the sixth annual concert presented on 11 January with the participation of parishes and their schools from New York City and New Jersey.

The Staff of St. Andrew Ukrainian School, once again, did a wonderful job of decorating the stage for the concert under the leadership of the school’s Director, Yaroslava Danyschuk.  Fr. Vasyl Pasakas, Executive Secretary to Archbishop Daniel, President of the Consistory and Metropolitan Antony, Prime Hierarch of our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, served as the very talented organizer of the annual caroling event, leading to a beautiful presentation with attention to every detail.

There were over one hundred participants in the concert who performed to the delight of two hundred parishioners, parents, grandparents and guests of the of the performers – both students and adults.  Parishes represented in the program were:  St. Andrew Memorial Church, South Bound Brook, NJ, St. Panteleimon Parish, Brooklyn, NY, St. George Parish, Yardville, NJ, St. Andrew Parish, Jamaica, NY, and Holy Trinity Cathedral, Broome St., New York City and Seminarians of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary, Metropolia Center, South Bound Brook, NJ.

 

The concert began with an opening prayer offered by Fr. Pasakas, who introduced the Host for the Concert, Oksana Danchenko, from Holy Trinity Cathedral, New York City.

 

The first performers were from St. Andrew Ukrainian School of the Ukrainian Cultural Center with a presentation entitled “Above the Manger the Bright Star Enlightened the Whole World”.  The student performers were from classes grades five through twelve.  They wore traditional Nativity costumes around the Manger of the Christ Child and the joy and innocence on their faces reflected that same joy and innocence of the Shepherds, the Wise Kings and even the animals that surrounded the newborn Christ Child at His Incarnation – God becoming man – over 2,000 years ago.  The Director of the Ukrainian School is Yaroslava Danyschuk and the leaders for the performance were teachers Oksana Nalivayko, Natalia Moroz and Halyna Bohutska.

The first performers were from St. Andrew Ukrainian School of the Ukrainian Cultural Center with a presentation entitled “Above the Manger the Bright Star Enlightened the Whole World”.  The student performers were from classes grades five through twelve.  They wore traditional Nativity costumes around the Manger of the Christ Child and the joy and innocence on their faces reflected that same joy and innocence of the Shepherds, the Wise Kings and even the animals that surrounded the newborn Christ Child at His Incarnation – God becoming man – over 2,000 years ago.  The Director of the Ukrainian School is Yaroslava Danyschuk and the leaders for the performance were teachers Oksana Nalivayko, Natalia Moroz and Halyna Bohutska.

The next performers were Church School students from St. Panteleimon Parish, Brooklyn, NY where Fr. Vasyl Shak serves as Pastor.  The students also presented a Nativity “Vertep” with traditional carols “Boh Sya Rozhdaye”, “Spy Isuse Spy”, “Dobryj Vechir Tobi”, Nova Radist Stala” “Nebo i Zemlya” under the direction of Christina Pendorak.

Participating from St. Andrew Parish, Jamaica, NY, Pastor, Fr. Ion Protaesa, was Maria Busa, a professional soprano who sang two pieces: “O Holy Night” by Adolphe Adam and “Ave Maria” by Pietro Mascagi.

The Ukrainian Studies School of St. George Parish, Yardville, NJ next performed under the watchful eye of the parish priest, V. Rev. Petro Levko.  The students also performed  several traditional Ukrainian carols around a “Manger Scene (Vertep)” under the direction of their teachers: Halyna Grygirchuk, Natalia Romaniuk and Jaroslava Holyk. 

Students from Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York City appeared next, accompanied by their Priest, V. Rev. Todor Mazur, presented “Anhelyata”, singing several carols under the artistic direction of their teachers, Olenka Hoshovska and Okcana Danchenko.

Many of the students of St. Sophia Seminary were still in Ukraine visiting families when the Caroling for Christ Concert took place, but some had already returned and although they were not at full force with all their singers, the students present performed beautifully.  Deacon Sviatoslav Got, Deacon Yurij Bobko, Yaroslav Bilohan, Maxim Zhuravchyk and Andrij Vatrych sang three carols “Nebo i Zemlya” (Heaven and Earth), “Tam Vysoko v Cynim Nebi” and “Dobryj Vechir”.

Delighting the audience next were three soloists from St. Panteleimon Parish, Brooklyn.  Victoria Tychynska sang “Khay Isus Male Dytya” and “Novyj Rik Pryjshov na Ukrainu”.  Julia Ilitych sang “Last Christmas” and “Rizdvo Chrystove”.  Victoria and Julia then performed a duet with the piece “Ukraina Kolyaduye”.  Finally, Dmyto Mischenko beautifully performed “Tykha Nich – Silent Night”.

The final presentation for the concert, which has been a tradition of “Caroling for Christ” throughout all six years of its existence was the “Vertep” performed by the adults and children of Holy Trinity Cathedral, Broome Street, New York City along with their priest, V. Rev. Todor Mazur.  This program has been performed all throughout the New York area, most noteworthy at Rockefeller Center before the great New York City Christmas Tree on our Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  It is a program, which, although performed in Ukrainian, is easily understood as the Nativity Story by the hundreds of people who pause to enjoy it.  It is a beautiful and professional presentation by all volunteers and was greatly appreciated by our traditional ‘CAROLING FOR CHRIST” audience.

At the end of the concert, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony joined the performers on stage and expressed his gratitude and that of His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, who was representing the Metropolitan at Church Events in our Ukrainian Orthodox Eparchy in Diaspora in Munich, Germany.  With the assistance of Fr. Pasakas, the Metropolitan presented “Hramoty – Certificates of Blessing” to all the participating groups in the Concert.  He stated that each and every year, the CAROLING FOR CHRIST CONCERT gets bigger and better and he invited them all back next year and that they will be able to remain for the beautiful photograph of all participants at the end of the program.

We thank all this year’s participants in our annual concert.  We missed some of our traditional participants due to other commitments, but we hope that they will be back with us next year for the Glory of God and to share His Love for all who hear their God-Given talent.

CHRIST IS BORN! LET US GLORIFY HIM!

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Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
P.O. Box 495
South Bound Brook, NJ 08880

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