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Korinya Concert Unites State College’s Ukrainian Community

The Penn State Ukrainian Society collaborated with local charity Sister’s Sister to hold a benefit concert for Nizhyn, Ukraine, on Saturday, February 25.

Just a year and one day after Russia invaded Ukraine, The State Theatre hosted the Ukrainian folk band Korinya for an afternoon celebration of culture and music. The event started with a video message from State College mayor Ezra Nanes.

“Today, I am so proud of the dedication, leadership, and many hard days of work that members of our community have done to raise awareness and money to support Ukraine,” Nanes said.

Following Nanes’ message, audience members heard a moving speech about the damage the city of Nizhyn has suffered and the work that Sister’s Sister does in support. The local State College organization is committed to aiding the people of Nizhyn in acquiring necessities like food, housing, and hot water. All proceeds and extra donations collected by Sister’s Sister from the concert will go directly to supporting Nizhyn.

Korinya took the stage in bright, traditional Ukrainian dress. The band started the concert by performing “A V Nashoho Khaziaina,” which instantly intrigued the crowd with lively vocals and violin accompaniment. The crowd erupted into synchronized claps with Korinya’s many upbeat dance tunes. Audience members were also drawn in by the more passionate ballads, like “Oi Zirvu Zh Ya Z Rozhi Kvitku,” which was given to Korinya by members Sana and Zoya Shepko’s late grandmother. The song is described as a mantra that says, “I take a rose and put it on the water.”

Other songs performed throughout the event included “Hutsul Melodies,” “Hop Lisom,” “Ivanku, Ivanku,” and “Dushko Moia,” which can be found on all streaming platforms.

The concert closed with three songs that embodied the fun a typical “village band” would bring to special occasions like weddings and parties. Korinya shared that it can be challenging to play cheerful songs at a time when so many people are grieving, but it is worthwhile.

“It became clear that when there is a genocide at hand, being proud, celebrating who you are, and sharing joy in who you are is everything.” vocalist Alina Kuzma said.

After a surprise encore that delighted the crowd, Korinya received a standing ovation and left the audience wanting more.

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About the Author

Megan Dougherty

Megan Dougherty is a junior majoring in English from Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania. She loves making music, consuming the maximum amount of coffee recommended by the FDA, and overanalyzing Taylor Swift lyrics. Follow her on Instagram @meganedougherty to see her three to four posts a year.

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