Friday, December 8

Cáceres sings for peace in Ukraine and shouts “no to war”

The 18 choral groups have sung from the steps of the Arco de la Estrella. / GEORGE KING

18 choral groups from the capital and its surroundings have joined their voices to remember the victims of the Russian invasion

Maria Jose Torrejon

With British punctuality, the voices have begun to sound this Sunday in the Plaza Mayor de Cáceres at twelve noon. The members of 18 choral groups from the capital and its surroundings have filled the steps leading to the Arch of the Star to sing for peace and condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is a European initiative, promoted by the Santiago Apóstol Choral Family of Griñón (Madrid), to which Cáceres and other Extremaduran towns such as Trujillo, Plasencia or Madrigal de la Vera have joined.

It was a short performance, lasting ten minutes, in which the participants sang two songs: ‘Dona nobis pacem’, a cantata by British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, and ‘Va, pensiero’, from Verdi’s opera ‘Nabucco’ . Enrique Gutiérrez Caldera, a member of the Francisco de Sande choir, has been in charge of coordinating the event, highlighting the fact that the concerts have taken place simultaneously in all the cities that have supported the initiative.

One of the most striking images of the meeting was that of Karine Weyvandova hoisting the Ukrainian flag at the end of the first performance, which she herself directed. She is from there, although she has lived in Cáceres for 30 years. She has been a teacher at the Badajoz Conservatory and has also directed the Orfeón Cacereño for ten years.

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Karine Weyvandova, a Ukrainian resident of Cáceres for 30 years, has directed the choirs. /

George King

He was born and lived for 40 years in Kharkov, the most besieged city in the war after Mariupol. It is located just 28 kilometers from the border with Russia. She has a hard time falling asleep, she confesses, since the conflict began. «I have been almost without sleep for 32 days, going around, following the information in Ukrainian, Russian, Spanish and English. I’m even listening to Russian stations that are saying barbarities », she says, visibly moved.

He has family in Ukraine, who have not left the country. “They live between the shelter and the house. Kharkov is being bombed every day. A thousand buildings have disappeared. People are broke. The bombing does not stop, but the Russian troops have not entered because the Ukrainian military defends », she details. Her husband was also born in the Ukraine, but came to Spain looking for her family roots, which were in Llerena.

Karine Weyvandova had not conducted a choir for a long time. “I have almost erased myself from social life,” she admits. But this Sunday she has made an exception. “When I was called to direct this performance I was very excited and very grateful.”

The cry of “No to war” has closed the act, which has also had the direction of María del Castillo Ventosa. The Hermanos Berzosa Conservatory, the Orfeón Cacereño, La Coral In Pulso, the Santa María de la Montaña Choir and the IES Brocense and Universidad Laboral have been some of the groups that have joined the proposal.

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