On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine and immediately residents started to leave their home-country, with many coming to Canada to seek refuge. Since that time southeast Manitoba has become home for hundreds of Ukrainians.

Daryna Malyukh, President of the Southeast Manitoba Ukrainian Association asked the community to remember the day together with them. She says,

"It is a very important day for us. We want Ukrainians to know that no matter where we are, we stand for Ukraine."

In a message to the Ukrainian community Malyukh writes, "Let us demonstrate our unity and solidarity in the struggle for the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine. We will honour the memory of all those who died in the war and express our support to all who have suffered as a result of the war."

Malyukh says that in commemoration of the 2nd year anniversary, they have organized a free concert and memorial service on Saturday, February 24, at the Mennonite Brethern Church in Steinbach starting at 11am, and at the clock tower after the concert.

Victoria Tuz and her piano studentsVictoria Tuz (centre back-row) and her piano students, will perform at the Mennonite Brethern Church on Saturday, February 24, 2024

She tells us what they have planned. "We are having, for the first time ever, a beautiful piano concert where local piano students will be playing music by famous Ukrainian composers."  Many of the students are from Ukraine. Their instructor, Victoria Tuz, was born in Ukraine to a family of musicians and studied piano all her life, including at the Kviv Music Academy. She now lives in Oakbank, where she has her music studio.

Malyukh says the concert will feature students who are at different piano study levels. She adds, she believes that the audience will enjoy hearing "Carol of the Bells" which was in fact written by a Ukrainian composer, Mykola Leontovych in 1914, and will be performed by two of Tuz' students, a brother and a sister."

Malyukh notes that the featured performer during the concert will be local violinist, Albert Bergen, joined by Victoria Tuz on piano.

Then after the concert, the audience and all members of the community, will be invited to join them at the clock tower, at the intersection of Main Street and Reimer Ave in Steinbach. The commemoration service will begin at 1pm, with the playing of the anthem of Ukraine, listening to some speeches, taking a moment of silence and saying prayers.

Ukraine concert poster

The video below is from February 24, 2022, sent to Chris Goertzen of Steinbach, showing explosions seen near the Mennonite Centre base in Melitopol, Ukraine.