UW-Stout choirs join in sharing musical traditions of Estonia, Poland and Ukraine in concert Dec. 3

Highlights include national folk songs, ‘Carol of the Bells,’ Swan Lake Ballet performance
Abbey Goers | November 21, 2022

Four area choirs will perform music from Estonia, Poland and Ukraine that speaks to the perils of war and the desire for peace. “To Freedom” will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 910 Ninth St. E., Menomonie.

UW-Stout Symphonic Singers and Chamber Choir, conducted by Director of Choral Activities Jerry Hui, will be joined by Schola Cantorum of Eau Claire and select members of the Menomonie Middle School choirs.

Tickets are $5 and are available to purchase online.

Highlights of the concert will include:

  • “Hej Sokoły,” (“Hey Falcon”) a Polish folk song about a soldier’s longing for his Ukrainian beloved
  • “Raua Needmine,”(“Curse Upon Iron”) an Estonian song, at times resembling an ancient chant, and other times an air raid siren
  • “Vox in Rama,” (“A Voice in Ramah”) by Polish Baroque composer Mikolaj Zielenski
  • “Ukrainale,” (“For Ukraine”) composed by Estonian contemporary composer Erkki-Sven Tüür only six months ago
  • Ukrainian folk song “Shchedryk,” often known as “Carol of the Bells” in the U.S.
Director of Choral Activities Jerry Hui and the UW-Stout Symphonic Singers
Director of Choral Activities Jerry Hui and the UW-Stout Symphonic Singers / UW-Stout

Siim Sööt, honorary consul of Estonia, will provide a presentation on Estonian history and culture during the concert.

Swan Lake Ballet and Ganna Ensemble, an Eau Claire-based dance studio, will perform to some of the songs. The ensemble is led by Ganna Berge, a lecturer in UW-Stout’s mathematics, statistics and computer science department. She was born in Crimea, a peninsula that borders Ukraine and Russia.

Viewers are also invited to an art exhibit celebrating the heritage of Estonia, Poland and Ukraine. “To Freedom” features three international artists and is on display through Tuesday, Dec. 20, at UW-Stout’s Furlong Gallery in Micheels Hall.

A display case that introduces Ukrainian history, culture and folk art is set up in the Memorial Student Center. The display was created by Natalia Ripeckyj’s family, a Ukrainian family in Eau Claire, and exchange student Iryna Levada from Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.

UW-Stout Chamber Choir
UW-Stout Chamber Choir / Jerry Hui

“I hope people who attend the concert or visit the exhibition will gain a new appreciation of the culture and history from Central Europe and may be motivated to seek further understanding in this region that has dominated recent news,” Hui said.

The School of Art and Design collaborated with many external partners to bring “To Freedom” to life, including the official cultural arms of three countries: the Estonian Consulate General in New York, the Polish Cultural Institute New York and the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York.

It is a rare opportunity for UW-Stout to partner directly with cultural bearers of specific geographical regions in creating these rich educational experiences,” Hui said.

UW-Stout’s performing arts offers opportunities for students to join theatre, band and choir, providing a creative outlet and a chance to explore their artistic talents. There is also a performing arts minor.

The School of Art and Design has six BFA programs, two Bachelor of Science degrees in arts administration and entrepreneurship and video production and the Master of Fine Arts in design.


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