Ukrainian choir group spreading message of well-wishing in Saskatoon

The Lastwika Ukrainian Orthodox Choir and Orchestra is back performing live and in-person after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

“In 2020 we still went out caroling, and of course in March then after the caroling was done, everything shut down,” said founding director and conductor Larry Klopoushak.

“It’s certainly nice to be back at full throttle, so to speak.”

On Sunday, the choir spent the day touring and caroling across Saskatoon, which included a stop at the Ilarion Ukrainian Orthodox residence.

“It’s really good for them,” said activities program director Michelle Motelago of the residents attending the performance.

“They love it and they love the Ukrainian music. Not everyone is Ukrainian, but everyone enjoys having choirs and bands and activities here.”

The choir is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2023, just months after the 100th anniversary of the song Carol of the Bells being performed for the first time in North America.

“It is more of a New Year’s Carol, based on people visiting homes and wishing others to be healthy and prosperous and all good bounty for the coming year in their homes,” said Klopoushak.

The choir says the reaction from residents makes the performances worth it.

“It varies anywhere from cheers and applause, to tears of joyous remembrance,” said Klopoushak.

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