Friday, July 07, 2006

Ukrainian music troupe stranded in Canada

What a shame this had to happen. What a black eye for Canada.

Instead of performing at Canada's most celebrated concert halls, the internationally acclaimed 52-member Volyn Song and Dance Company is giving stellar performances in community centres and banquet halls in a desperate effort to raise money after the ensemble's cross-country tour was abruptly cancelled.

The troupe arrived in Toronto on June 18 for what members believed would be a profitable month-long tour. The first hint of trouble came while the troupe was en route to the airport in Kyiv. That's when Volyn's artistic director, Oleksander Stadnyk, said he received a call advising the group not to come to Canada because promoter Leonid Oleksiuk, president of Ablaze Productions Corp. in Toronto, had reportedly fallen ill.

But with only hours until their flight and airline tickets paid for with $40,000 (U.S.) borrowed from their regional government, Stadnyk said there was no turning back. Confident that all of the arrangements were in place, the troupe pressed on.

... after just three performances in London, Hamilton and Toronto, the curtain came down on the cross-Canada tour.

'We're very disenchanted with Ablaze Productions, which invited us to Canada and organized the tour,' Stadnyk said in an interview in Ukrainian, adding there was little promotion, resulting in poor ticket sales -even in Canada's Ukrainian heartland out west.

Full article here.

Let's hope the community does rally round. From what I have heard and seen of Volyn, they are spectacular. I have a couple of their CDs and play them often on Nash Holos.

As for the so-called "promoter" who lured them to Canada, with obviously no intention of following through with the grandiose scheme he sold these trusting souls on, the less said the better.

I'll try to find out from reputable sources who is collecting money to help Volyn out, and where it can be sent. When I find out, I'll post it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is truly sad to see promoters take advantage of the performers from Ukraine. What was Ablaze Productions thinking when they virtually left the Volyn Song & Dance Ensemble on the streets of Toronto. Also what gives Ablaze the rights to steal intellectual property which clearly belongs to the Volyn group.

Any CDs and DVDs released by Ablaze concerning Volyn was done without any permission or copyright considerations. This is according to Stadnyk and Lebedev from the Volyn group. Productions companies cannot just acquire copyrighted material and then reproduce at will and the actual performers don't even make any commissions. This is just plain wrong.

To correct some inaccuracies Volyn will not be held accountable for the $40,000 loan from the Governor of Volyn according to Stadnyk. I'm sure that's a load off of their minds.

They are lining up a couple of more shows in the Toronto area before they return to Ukraine. Bravo to this ensemble which did not fold up in the face of adversity.

Slava Ukraini