Ukrainian singer among those featured at benefit concert

A family wait in a car with a sign reading in Russian "children", after arriving from Mariupol to the evacuation point in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, 02 May 2022. On 02 May, thousands of people who were still in Mariupol and other areas in South Ukraine occupied by the Russian army, waited to be evacuated to Ukraine's controlled area by buses and their own cars.

The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts will play host to a benefit concert for Ukraine, with a guest performer from Ukraine being featured as part of the tribute.

Nataliia Temnyk is a highly trained soprano singer and graduate of the Odesa National Academy, she arrived in Kingston for a residency on November 30, capped off by Thursday’s concert where she will perform three Ukrainian compositions as well as “Ave Maria”.

Adrienne Shannon, one of the organizers of Thursday’s benefit concert, performed with her playing partner Joy Inniss as PALENAI Piano duo in Odesa years ago and remained connected with the Academy since that point.

Shannon said the idea started to unfold soon after the invasion of Ukraine began, and bringing a Ukrainian musician to perform brought the experience closer to home.

“It just seemed to make sense to bring her here,” Shannon said.

“She has, of course, experience of what’s going on in her country.”

Temnyk has been living in the UK, but was born and raised in Ukraine and still has family there.

Her residency has also included an Advent concert at St. George’s Cathedral on Saturday, and a class held at Queen’s DAN School on Friday.

As a highly trained singer, Shannon said that Temnyk was able to impart a breadth of knowledge on the students in the class session.

She said Temnyk brought a combination of expertise, kindness, and firmness to the students, and her presence as a whole was eye opening.

“When she spoke to the singers in the master class she said: you must know how lucky you are,”  Shannon said of Temnyk.

“Her presence and the reality of her life and where she’s from has had a tremendous impact on everybody.”

In an email, Temnyk said the experience has been amazing and she has felt Canadians are very welcoming.

“It is incredible to me how I became involved in this concert through Joy and Adrienne’s connection to my music academy in Odesa,” Temnyk said.

“For me, Canadians are so warm and they really want to support my country during this war. I am so grateful for this opportunity to meet Queen’s music students and all the musicians in this concert.”

At Thursday’s 2 hour long concert, Temnyk will be joined by over 100 Kingston musicians and Ukrainian dancers, supported by images of Ukrainian art, photography, and images captured of the ongoing war by photojournalists on the ground.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal Fund of the Ukraine Humanitarian Relief committee.