Songs for Ukraine Chorus – Bradford Cathedral

20th November 2023

Chorus for Ukraine comes to Bradford Cathedral in a unique collaboration with the Royal Opera House.

Bradford Cathedral will welcome the Songs for Ukraine Chorus this December in a unique project with the Royal Opera House, the start of a three-year creative partnership in the city ahead of its City of Culture status in 2025.

The Royal Opera House Songs for Ukraine project was set up in 2022 in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a creative exchange with the Royal Opera Chorus to support and stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian community.

The choir, made up of 130 people, including those who fled Ukraine after Russia’s invasion, gave its first performance at the Royal Opera House earlier this year to an invited audience of London’s Ukrainian community.

Now the Songs for Ukraine Chorus is coming to Bradford Cathedral for a special Christmas concert.

The singers, alongside local Ukrainian choirs, primary school children and the Cathedral youth choir, will perform for an audience which will include members of the city’s significant Ukrainian population.

It is the first time the choir has performed outside London.

Revd Ned Lunn, Canon for Intercultural Mission and the Arts: said:

“We are proud to be working with the Royal Opera House on this important concert, bringing hope in the midst of great trials and devastation.

“Bradford Cathedral has a vision to create a generous welcome to the world and stands as part of a long story of faith lived out by the diverse communities that make up Bradford.

“This faith, which has spread across the district, overflows with creativity and has stimulated a voracious curiosity that goes around the world.

“For these reasons, we value our relationship with the local Ukrainian community, particularly the choirs who have performed here many times. This event allows us to partner with them again, this time with our own wonderful Grace Notes choir.

“We look forward to welcoming the Songs For Ukraine Chorus and Royal Opera House to Bradford for the first of many collaborations moving towards City of Culture 2025,” he added.

The concert marks the start of a new creative partnership between the Royal Opera House and Bradford, leading up to its year as UK City of Culture to inspire creativity in young people and communities through a range of events over the next three years.

The Royal Opera House will bring some of its most successful initiatives, including its flagship Create & Sing, Create & Dance and Create & Design programmes, using ballet and opera to encourage creative confidence in schools and Chance to Dance, the Royal Opera House’s talent development programme.

The Christmas concert – described as “a day to celebrate the resilience of the Ukrainian community in the UK and around the world, recognise the power of music to bring people together, and revel in the holiday spirit” – will feature Christmas carols and traditional Ukrainian songs.

Daria, a member of the Songs for Ukraine Chorus, says: “Christmas for Ukrainians is such a special holiday. Christmas is always about family, but a lot of people in this Chorus don’t have family.

“But this choir has started to really feel like family for us, with such beautiful music. This project, it’s something I couldn’t imagine.”

Olha, another choir member, says: “Music cures. I really needed this kind of therapy. It helped me to find people in the same situation as me who have also experienced such difficult times and can unite with me. I feel a part of Ukraine in the Royal Opera House.

“This concert will be a chance to show how we celebrate Christmas at home. When we are with family, we gather around the table, we have Christmas dinner and sing carols. It’s our tradition.”

Songs for Ukraine Christmas Concert is at Bradford Cathedral on Sunday, December 10 at 3pm.

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