Reports and Gallery - Festival 2011

Thursday, 25 August, 2011
The Ukrainian Community of Pennsylvania Celebrates Ukraine’s Independence Day
By: Zorislav Baydyuk, correspondent, Voice of America

They started celebrating Ukraine’s Independence Day at the Ukrainian American Sport Center “Tryzub”, from the time of its first anniversary. Full of pride in their ancestral homeland, local Ukrainians desire not only to celebrate, but also to showcase and to share their rich culture to and with the broader American community. Tryzub Vice President Eugene A. Luciw declared: “At this festival, we demonstrate our folk art; we show who we are: our language, our music and our dance. And America watches, learns and enjoys.”
Ukrainian immigrants created The Ukrainian American Sport Center – Tryzub in 1950. In the 1960’s they organized a professional soccer team, named it the “Ukrainian Nationals” and proceeded to win the American league championship six times. They captured the coveted US Open Cup four times.

Ukraine Festival on Voice of America

With the demise of the professional soccer in the United States, Tryzub shifted its focus to amateur sports. Its youth soccer teams [also named “Ukrainian Nationals” or “Tryzub”] consistently win championships at various levels. The Center also organizes grand soccer tournaments at its facility, the property for which it acquired and developed in the Philadelphia suburbs in the 1970’s. As described by Tryzub President Jaroslaw Kozak, Tryzub members, with btheir own hands, converted 40 acres of farm land into a sport center: “This is all based on voluntary labor. We collected charitable donations from our Philadelphia area Ukrainians. Otherwise, we would not have been able to accomplish this. Our people understood the need and donated monies and labor, so that we could acquire the land and develop it.”

“Tryzubivka” rapidly became a center of Ukrainian life in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. They celebrate Ukraine’s independence with special emotion and vigor. The community includes more than just a few persons that participated directly in the struggles and campaigns for national freedom. Among them is a former member of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (“UPA”): “Whatever else may be going on in Ukraine that we might not desire, victory will be ours, because the Ukrainian spirit lives.”

A frequent guest at the annual Ukrainian Independence Day festival is the pride and joy of the Philadelphia Ukrainian community, the Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. This immensely popular dance troupe has been showcasing Ukrainian culture in the United States for nearly, forty years. “Ninety percent of our concerts are in front of an American audience. Americans want to understand this art form and the character of the Ukrainian soul that it represents”, said Taras Lewyckyj, the ensembles artistic director.

Proceeds from the folk festival in honor of Ukraine’s independence at Tryzubivka benefit the needs of the Center and its sports and cultural programming.

Ukrainian Festival Dancing

Syzokryli Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. Photo by Christine Syzonenko

1.	Emily Knihnicky of Voloshky performs during the Ukrainian Gypsy Dance

Emily Knihnicky of Voloshky performs during the Ukrainian Gypsy Dance
Photo by Carl Kosola/Intelligencer-Record newspaper.

Voloshky Hutsul Dance

Voloshky premieres its new Hutsul Dance. Photo by Christine Syzonenko


Violinist Innesa Tymochko Dekajlo playing the violin

Fata Morgana performs at The Orange Revolution

Oleksij Kerekesha and Fata Morgana excite at the Orange Revolution


Photos courtesy of Christine Syzonenko

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