Shenandoah Conservatory students, faculty and staff met at noon on Friday, March 4, at the Abrams Creek Amphitheatre to gather as a gesture of support to the citizens of Ukraine. Participants rehearsed and recorded “Cherez pole” (“Across the wide field”), a Ukrainian folk hymn by Mykola Leontovich (1877–1921), arranged by Dmitro Kotko (1892–1982) and edited by Noah Wagar ’22 (Master of Music in Conducting) for Shenandoah University.
Artists of various disciplines within the conservatory demonstrated their solidarity with the war-torn country by learning the music and diction of the folk hymn and offering it as a gift to student and faculty colleagues in Ukraine, as well as the general Ukrainian population.
“For Ukranians, music is a means of survival,” said Ukrainian-American and former director of choirs at the University of California, Berkeley, Marika Kuzma. Kuzma is a colleague of Associate Professor of Voice and Director of Choral Activities Matt Oltman, D.M.A., and a friend of Shenandoah University.
The initiative was led by Oltman with special support from Shenandoah Conservatory Dean and Professor of Music Michael Stepniak, Ed.D.