A professional singer who fled her home in Ukraine as Russian forces bombarded her town has joined a Cornish choir to help raise money for others like her. Refugee Anna Zoshchuk fled her hometown of Odessa two weeks ago and now lives with a family in Truro.
More than 14 million Ukrainians have fled the country to take refuge across Europe since the Russian invasion. The 34-year-old arrived in Cornwall two weeks ago as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, after fleeing her hometown which again came under missile attack.
The singer said: “I try to keep my emotions down but I always cry because you know that in our country now there is a war and part of kyiv is destroyed and I feel so much sadness about that. I’m excited to be here because it’s another language, another country and another experience for me, it’s the next level of my life.
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Anna was the special guest of the Mousehole Male Voice Choir who held a concert at Penzance Catholic Church on Saturday night to help raise money for other Ukrainian refugees. Having worked mainly in musical theatre, Anna had, before the outbreak of the war, begun to turn to opera. For her performance in Cornwall, she chose a number of arias to share with the public as part of a week-long ‘celebration of music and art’ organized by the church.
Anna was invited to sing by Stephen Lawry, musical director of the Mousehole Male Voice Choir. Besides Morricone’s ‘Nella Fantasia’ (made famous by Sarah Brightman) and Luigi Arditi’s Il Bacio (The Kiss), Anna sang a few Ukrainian songs close to her heart.
Before the concert, Anne said: “I am delighted to present two Ukrainian composers, Igor Shamo and M Lusenko at Penzance and I will bring some Ukrainian energy to the evening. It’s very special that Stephen and the singers of Mousehole invited me to join them, so soon after I arrived.
Anna said that singing “Dnieper Waltz” by Igor Shamo was difficult for her because the Dnieper is the river that runs through her country and the piece is in honor of the people of Kyiv and their courage.
She added: “It’s not easy for me to sing this piece right now. It’s a song about first love, youth, memories and the love that two authors have for our city. Kyiv was one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, with a magnificent opera, churches, cathedrals, the famous Maidan (the main square) and many museums. In a few months so much has been destroyed. I hope that By singing this song I was able to paint a picture to remind people of our wonderful culture in Ukraine.
She added: “It gave me great pleasure to sing my first concert since arriving in Cornwall. It was very emotional, especially to sing the Ukrainian songs, away from my country. Thank you Stephen and the choir, thank you Penzance. “
Stephen Lawry, Musical Director of the Mousehole Male Voice Choir, said: “The plight of Ukraine is close to the heart of the choir and in April we held a joint concert with the Nankersey Male Choir which raised £4,500 for the work of the Red Cross in the country. .
“We are really happy to be part of the Penzance Catholic Church Festival, the first to take place since 2019. We are especially happy to have hosted Anna and given Penzance the opportunity to hear her sing. ”
Jon Pender, President of MMVC added: “It was a pleasure and a privilege for us to have her participate in the concert. Everyone admires her for what she had to go through recently to be here.
“We hope she feels safe and happy in Cornwall, and we send our best wishes to her family and to all Ukrainians. We all look forward to singing with Anna again.”