A Musical September

Hello Everyone!
Amazing music in Luhansk!  Luhansk may not be the prettiest city in Ukraine, and the scenery in the surrounding countryside may not be a dramatic or awesome as Western Ukraine, BUT Luhansk has GREAT music schools and a wonderful orchestra that promotes and highlights Ukrainian musicians!   I am so fortunate to be placed in Luhansk as I truly enjoy music and I am getting a wonderful "classical music fix" while working here.

If  opera and the classica are "not your thing", you can skip the videos! The first concert of the Symphony season for the Luhansk Oblast Philharmonia was Sept. 14 and the concert was "A night of Italian opera and music".   It WAS GREAT!  And considering the concert tickets were $5 (40 UAH),  that made the night that much more unbelievable.

The video clip below (from my NEW camera) is an aria from La Boheme.  The soprano is a knockout... not only in voice!

I HAD to take the next video clip.  Having heard "O Sole Mio"  sung in Sicily in the 1970s when I lived there, and again in other parts of Italy, and the Three Tenors recordings, I now add "O Sole Mio" sung in Italian by a Ukrainian tenor to my list.  The entire audience LOVED it, clapping and humming along!!!

The two minute video clip below of the trumpet soloist is also wonderful.  We heard this soloist all last season and he is great.  I took this video, too, because I have many nieces and good friends who play the trumpet.  This video clip is for them!!
The concert encore (I have not seen one encore take place in the last year of concerts) had the four singers performing, Brindisi from La Traviata.  My memory card was full just before the group finished. 

The second concert of the season, last night Sept. 28,  had a young virtuoso violinist, 13 years young.  He performed the Bruch Violin Concerto in G.  Phenomenal young artist - incredible poise and very talented.
Every Sunday in the summer here in Luhansk, the Luhansk Municipal Orchestra (not to be confused with the Oblast Philharmonia) plays in the park across the street from my apartment.  These concerts are similar to Summer Pops concerts in the states.   The most enjoyable part of these concerts is watching the older Ukrainians who come to dance and to enjoy the outdoor entertainment.    The video clip below is from last Sunday's (Sept. 25) concert.  Note that the tree is where all the ladies hang their purses!!!
I have been working in September, not just listening to music!   Every Wednesday, I work with my director's father, who volunteers his time to provide an art activity to a group of mentally disabled young adults (age range 18 to 35).   Several of the young adults have had English lessons, so we try to combine a little English language re-learning with our art activities.

After our Wednesday art activity, I meet the young children who are working with a dance therapy teacher.  The children are preparing a dance for the National Talent Competition which will be held here in Luhansk in mid-November.   The children have a range of different disabilities- some physical, some mental, but ALL have the best time dancing and working together with each other and their instructor.

The Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox church, Patriarch Kyril, paid a visit to Luhansk.  From what I understand of the Russian Orthodox church and the hierarchy within the church, Patriarch Kyril's visit was equal to having the Pope visit.   An outdoor stage was set up- just down the street from my house.  Tickets were issued to attend the outdoor service; my organization was lucky to receive tickets, so we all attended.  Fortunately for my colleges, there was a very small area for the disabled.  It was a fascinating morning and it was interesting to see the pomp and circumstance involved with an orthodox service.   The entire service lasted 3+ hours!  

It is definitely fall now.  The leaves are changing color, the nights are cool and the days are pleasant.  It's time to break out the blue jeans and socks.  Photos below capture a bit of Luhansk in the fall.  Also, there is a protest going on in one of the main parks across from the city administration building.  The tents are set up, the protesters have camp kitchens; could be this protest will be around for awhile.  
Stay tuned.

One final fun photo:   
I live about 15 minutes from the main train station.  Last week, while walking to catch the train to Kiev, smack in the middle of the main road stood a bride, a groom, the photographer, the maid of honor and the best man.... for a wedding photo.   I had to ask a friend "Why in the middle of the main road to the train station? "  The answer:  Because there is a good view of the city from that spot!

I LOVE being here!   

I miss everyone, but I am learning so much about another part of our world.

Enjoy October.
A big hug to everyone.


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