NORTH PORT, Fla. – On Sunday, June 7, Branch 56 of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, which is based in North Port, Fla., broke the tedium of the coronavirus pandemic by hosting a literary evening. The branch did so safely and in full compliance with CDC guidelines by hosting the evening’s entertainment on an online platform, offering live virtual meetings with audio and video features.
The president of UNWLA Branch 56, Alexandra Popel, opened the event by welcoming all participants, which at times topped 80 guests. The participants joined the virtual program from around the world.
The program opened with a video of a moving Ukrainian melody by composer Myroslav Skoryk, with performances by Bogdana Pivnenko, violinist, and conductor Oksana Lyniw. Thereafter, Ms. Popel recited a poem, “My Native Language,” and introduced the event’s organizer, Ksenia Rakowsky.
Ms. Rakowsky, who is the cultural affairs chairperson for the branch, conceived the event, and organized the performers, videography and marketing for the production. She also served as the master of ceremonies for this highly successful event.
Performances included readings, anecdotes, lighthearted and often humorous poetry readings, a bandura performance by Roma Long, an organ and musical performance by Mykhailo Tsapar, and a comic performance by guest performer Oleh Chmyr along with a video featuring him in a Ukrainian operetta. Mr. Chmyr is an Honored Artist of Ukraine and a renowned opera singer.
Poetry reading, more comedy and stories were also included, starring Olya Hron, Lidia Bilous, Lyubov Dmytryshyn Chasto, Ihor Rakowsky and Lana Yarymovych. Technical assistance for the event was provided by Lyubomir Boychuk and Alexandra Popel.
The evening’s performances lasted about 85 minutes and concluded with resounding applause.
Patricia Zalisko is the English-language press secretary of UNWLA Branch 56 in North Port, Fla.