An acclaimed male voice choir is set to return to the Midlands after its members were spared from fighting in the ongoing war between the Ukraine and Russian separatists.
The Boyan Ensemble, which is part of the Revutsky Academic Male Capella based in Kiev, will be performing four concerts in the Midlands in October as part of an extensive tour of Britain.
The tour marks a welcome return for the choir to UK shores and means this year’s visit will be its 23rd.
The Post reported how last year’s tour was under threat due to the conflict in Ukraine and how it proves vital in raising funds to help see choir members and their families through the harsh eastern European winter.
The tour is taking place against a background of deepening financial and social crisis in the choir’s homeland as civil war continues in the Donbass region.
The ongoing war has seen much of Ukraine’s infrastructure destroyed and almost two million people displaced.
Vigilante military recruiters regularly raid shopping centres, public transport, parks and other public open spaces to pressgang young men into the armed services, but members of the choir have been given a reprieve from military service due to their role as cultural ambassadors.
Margarete Rolle, who is organising the choir’s British tour, said: “There has been serious ongoing concern that our singers would be conscripted into the army, but we decided to throw caution to the winds and go ahead with this tour because to cancel it would have caused bitter disappointment on all sides.
“This tour demonstrates that there’s more to Ukraine than bombs and bullets, a worn-out Soviet infrastructure and a bedevilled political system. “Whatever its problems, Ukraine has a rich, traditional culture which never fails to impress and members of Boyan are exemplary ambassadors of this powerful musical heritage.
“There are devastating circumstances facing the nation, the economy is perilously close to default and an economist recently quipped that compared to Ukraine, Greece looks like Switzerland.
“The dire financial situation and austerity measures make life very difficult for the singers who struggle to provide for their families.
“They are reliant on their government’s funding but this has become tenuous under the circumstances.
“They therefore hope their British tour will be a big success because it gives them a rare opportunity to earn some real money at a time when their currency has plummeted to disastrous levels, and I beg people to support them.”
The Boyan Ensemble is scheduled to perform 23 concerts in September and October, with a programme of sacred chants reflecting the splendour of the Eastern Orthodox tradition and rich Ukrainian folk songs.
The choir’s Midland concerts are at St Laurence’s Church, Ludlow, on October 14, Christ Church, Cheltenham, on October 16, Malvern Priory on October 17 and St Francis Xavier Church, Hereford, on October 20.
Tickets to the concerts, which all start at 7.30pm, cost between £16 and £18.
For details of the Boyan Ensemble’s Midland concerts and to book tickets visit www.vocalclassics.co.uk/boyan.