Round Hill Community Church to Host a “Concert for Ukraine”

Round Hill Community Church will host a “Concert for Ukraine” on Friday, May 13, 2022, at 7:00pm, to celebrate the music, culture, and indomitable spirit of Ukraine, and to stand together with Ukrainians who are fighting for the right to live freely on their own land, to choose their own destiny, and to uphold the democratic ideals that the civilized world holds dear.

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“Concert for Ukraine” is a program of international music from many genres. Distinguished performers include Ukrainian artists Stefan Szkafarowsky of the Metropolitan Opera, Dr. Irena Portenko on piano, Jeffrey Charles Palmer, countertenor, violinist Inessa Tymochko Dekajlo, and the Duet Malvy performing on the national instrument of Ukraine, the bandura.

Additional artists include Dr. Risa Renae Harman, soprano; Dustin Lucas, tenor; Scott Tomlinson, bass, and musicians of the Greenwich Chamber Players. All of the evening’s performers have donated their time and talents.

“Speaking on behalf of the Round Hill Community Church family, the soloists here at Round Hill are grateful to be able to share in this concert supporting the Ukrainian people. When the world goes askew and events seem unfathomable, music is the gift that brings us together and reminds us that we are part of the global community. This concert is dedicated to the brave people of Ukraine with prayers for peace,” said Dr. Risa Renae Harman, soprano.

Tickets are $50 each. Proceeds from the event will be donated to World Central Kitchen and Razom for Ukraine (in Ukrainian, the word Razom means “together”) to support their ongoing efforts to provide humanitarian aid to Ukrainians in Ukraine and refugees who have been forced to temporarily relocate to western European countries. 

Stefan Szkafarowsky, bass, was born in New York City and raised in Yonkers by Ukrainian immigrant parents Petro and Iwanna Szkafarowsky.  He has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington Opera in D.C. and other opera houses in the United States and Canada. He has sung with the Lviv Opera House in Ukraine, Cagliari Opera House in Italy, Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland, Macau Music Festival in China, Theatre Municipal of São Paulo Brazil and Theatre Municipal of Chile.

In 2017, he had a solo recital at the Lviv Philharmonic Concert Hall in Lviv, Ukraine, and has been a featured soloist with leading symphony orchestras of Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Colorado, Hartford, Milwaukee, Vancouver, Montreal, and the National Symphony in Washington D.C. and had the great opportunity to work with eminent conductors including Anton Coppola, Michael Tilson Thomas, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonard Slatkin, Michel Lancaster, Anton Coppola, James Levine, and Placido Domingo.

Born in Kyiv, Ukraine, Dr. Irena Portenko first displayed a talent for the piano at age three, making her debut performing Haydn’s Keyboard Concerto in D Major with the Ukrainian National Orchestra at the age of eight.

Portenko’s recordings have received the highest acclaim from critics. She is an avid chamber musician and has performed with a diverse range of musicians at festivals and recitals worldwide. In addition to her solo piano and concerto work, Portenko is the Director of Music in the Alps, an international music festival held in Austria’s Gastein Valley, promoting cross-cultural dialogue and innovation in classical music performance. Portenko received her bachelor’s degree from the Kyiv National Academy of Music, her post-graduate degree from the Ukrainian National Academy of Music, and her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan School of Music. 

Says Portenko, “I will be playing for all those who were displaced; who lost their loved ones; for those who are wounded yet wish they could go back to the battlefield; for the volunteers who risk everything to help; for my classmates and friends who left the comfort of their homes to defend their land and families; for my musicians and colleagues whose professional lives have stopped, if only for a short while. And, I play for my own family to stay alive.”

Jeffrey Charles Palmer, countertenor, had his vocal debut at the age of nine, singing the Pie Jesu from the Fauré Requiem Mass in his native Virginia. As a critically acclaimed recitalist, he has given concerts in theatres and halls across the globe, including the Marmorsaal of Mirabell Palace (Salzburg, Austria), the Hefei Grand Theatre (Hefei, China), and the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall (NYC). Known for his ‘particularly attractive timbre with more warmth to the tone than often found with countertenors’ and for singing ‘with great imagination and deep feeling for the words’ (Henry Fogel, Fanfare Magazine), his eclectic taste and flexible musicality have allowed him to be as comfortable in Purcell and Handel as he is in Britten and Björk.

Inessa Tymochko Dekajlo is an international concert violinist, EMI recording artist, and graduate of the Lviv State Conservatory. At the age of six, she began studying the violin and established herself as an up-and-coming violinist in Lviv from 1996 to 2005. Upon completing the Lviv Conservatory in 2001, she continued her studies independently throughout Europe. Ms. Tymochko-Dekajlo moved to the United States in 2006 and has performed for audiences across North America and Europe. Although originally a student of classical music, Inessa became enthralled by the beautiful and powerful Ukrainian traditional folk music. She was so drawn to traditional Ukrainian roots that she developed a fusion style of the Ukrainian folk genre on the classical violin. The blending of the rich Ukrainian melodies with the classical performances in a new and inventive style has captivated her audiences. Ms. Tymochko-Dekajlo is particularly inspired by Ukrainian spiritual music that vividly depicts the cultural heritage of the deeply faithful Ukrainian nation. 

Sisters Kalyna and Uliana Leshchuk of Duet Malvy are talented bandura players and vocalists. They have performed as a duet at events, concerts, and festivals throughout the tri-state area. Both are members of the Women’s Bandurist Ensemble of North America. Besides sharing their talent with the Ukrainian community, Kalyna and Uliana never miss an opportunity to share the rich Ukrainian culture and heritage with the general public. Kalyna is a graduate of Fordham University, where she finished with a Bachelor of Science in biology and a music minor.  Uliana is a junior at the Academy of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, New Jersey. In the spring of 2018, Uliana performed at the Golden Key Festival winners’ recital held at Carnegie Hall. 

Round Hill Community Church is a community of compassion where we learn to love God, ourselves, all human beings, and creation with heart, mind, soul, and strength. We are an intergenerational church and welcome people of all backgrounds and religions pursuing spiritual growth. As a result of Russia’s unprovoked, deliberate, and genocidal attack on Ukraine, the world is seeing the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century. In an ongoing effort to be a force for good in the world, Round Hill Community Church is responding. Join us as we stand with Ukraine.