Tomorrow (Sunday 31 July 2022) is an historic day as the very newly formed Ukraine Freedom Orchestra performs at the Royal Albert Hall. Musicians come from different parts of Ukraine and from different orchestras and ensembles. They come together on a world tour for the next few weeks, visiting cities in Europe and the USA.
The Ukraine Freedom Orchestra
The Ukraine Freedom Orchestra is made up of 74 musicians, many of whom have spent the war so far in Ukraine as well as recent refugees.
As the Royal Albert Hall explains:
“The Ukraine Ministry of Culture is granting a special exemption to military-age, male members of orchestras inside the country, enabling them to participate in a remarkable demonstration of the power of art over adversity.”
The orchestra has been put together by a collaboration of the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and the Polish National Opera. The conductor is Canadian-Ukrainian Keri-Lynn Wilson. London is the second venue in the tour, having started in Warsaw on Thursday after a ten-day intensive rehearsal period.
Support for Ukraine
The day also includes an outside event where people are invited to assemble at the Albert Hall between 11am and 4pm.
The event is organised by Thank EU for the Music, SECD and UK’s Star of European Unity.
As part of this event there will be a unique and gigantic quilt on display outside the Royal Albert Hall.
The quilt is made up of 35 pieces of 5m x 3m and is a symbol of love, support and solidarity with the people of Ukraine. It all started with an idea from the Australian contemporary artist, Janno McLaughlin.
Janno wanted to show support to Ukrainian children whom she met during the Covid-19 times. This was when she was invited to become a judge for a children’s drawing competition organised by UK Based charity SECD and International Educational Cultural Association in Kyiv.
As a result, around 9000 patches from 15 different countries, all 30 x 30 cm with a Sunflower – a symbol of Ukrainian resistance and dignity were sent to Janno. Each of these patches is a symbol of love and support, solidarity and freedom.
The chair of the charity’s trustees, Iryna Pyrtko said:
“The sunflowers always reach for the sun, and Ukrainian children do not need war, but blue sky and sun. Let these children see our sunflowers and know how many caring people there are in the world”.
This small charity based in North London is being supported by Thank EU for the Music, a group that regularly organises events outside the Albert Hall.
Spokesperson for the group Peter Benson says:
“We will be handing out over 2,000 Ukrainian flags to concert-goers on Sunday in addition to hundreds of EU flags. It’s a great opportunity for us to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine and assist this charity in getting this very unique quilt properly displayed on the day.”
Peter adds that concert-goers are being invited to experience the display after the concert and to show solidarity.
The UK’s Star of Unity will also make an appearance on the day. This is a hugs star which represents peace an unity in Europe.