WHIPPANY, N.J. – A commemorative concert held here at the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey on Saturday, October 14, marked three historic anniversaries that are being observed by Ukrainians around world.
Headlining the sold-out concert were well-known performers from Ukraine, the six-member a cappella group Pikkardiyska Tertsiya and bard Taras Chubay, a singer, musician and songwriter, as well as the Iskra Ukrainian Dance Ensemble of Whippany, N.J.
The event was part of the commemorations planned by the community group known as the Ukrainian National Committee to Commemorate 75th Anniversary of UPA, 70th Anniversary of Akcja Wisla and 70th Anniversary of UPA’s Great Raid. Among the committee’s members are veterans’ groups of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (known by its Ukrainian acronym as UPA) and the Organization for the Defense of Lemkivshchyna (OOL).
The concert was opened with the Ukrainian and American national anthems performed by the gifted young singer Anya Kosachevich. The color guard was composed of members of Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization and the Ukrainian American Youth Association (UAYA). The Rev. Stepan Bilyk, pastor of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Whippany, delivered the invocation.
The audience was addressed by Michael Sawkiw, director of the Washington-based Ukrainian National Information Service, and Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Valeriy Chaly, who was in attendance with his wife, Liudmyla Mazuka, and their children.
Also appearing in the concert program were members of the Stamford, Conn., branch of the UAYA, who presented a short play and performed several songs, including the mournful “Plyve Kacha.”
Closing remarks were offered by Zenia Kowalczyn Brozyna, who chairs the national committee that organized the event and is president of the Society of Veterans of the UPA. Joining her on stage was Marie Duplak, honorary president of the OOL, who is vice-chair of the national committee. The concert was coordinated by Andrij Stasiw.
During the program, Ambassador Chaly presented certificates of appreciation to Mmes. Brozyna and Duplak for organizing the commemorative event and to Ukrainian National Women’s League of America President Marianna Zajac for many years of work for the good of the Ukrainian community and Ukraine.
The significance of the commemorative concert’s October 14 date is that it is the Day of the Holy Protectress, which is historically identified as the date when the UPA was officially established.
Other events planned by the national committee included a lecture by Prof. Volodymyr Serhiychuk at the Ukrainian National Home in New York on October 13, and a scholarly conference at the Shevchenko Scientific Society in New York on October 29.