Kiev Orchestra Comes to Scottsdale

Congregants to house visiting Kiev musicians

Bev Skoglund -- The Arizona Republic -- Oct. 13, 2004

Love of Christ Lutheran Church is letting Christian charity begin at home with this month's visit of the Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus to Mesa.

About 80 hosts from the church will provide accommodations for the 165 musicians when they perform at the church on Tuesday as part of a U.S. tour that will include an appearance at New York's Carnegie Hall. The hosts are also treating the Ukrainian musicians to a steamboat ride on Canyon Lake before their 7 p.m. performance at the church's Center for Compassion at 1525 N. Power Road.

The group's visit to Mesa is due to the efforts of Pastor Don Thompson, who is of Ukrainian descent and led a church mission team to the Ukraine in 2003.

While on that trip Thompson and Michael Tully, the church's music director, were invited to hear a Kiev Symphony rehearsal

"The rehearsal concert was exceptional," Thompson said, "especially as most of the musicians are graduates of the famed Kiev Conservatory of Music."

Thompson's mission project in the Ukraine was to set up a computer lab at a school in Ternopil to support the school's English language program.

"The traveling orchestra and chorus are part of Music Mission Kiev, which ministers to the people of the Ukraine following 70 years of Soviet rule," Thompson said. "It is their way to proclaim the love of Christ through great Christian classical music."

Tickets for the concert are $20 and are available by calling the church at (480) 981-6199 or by e-mailing event coordinator Dick Beckman at dick

Proceeds raised by the concert will cover the group's expenses, plus support funds for Music Mission Kiev's ministry in the Ukraine, said marketing coordinator Jennifer Fearer.

The orchestra and chorus will also perform at Copper Ridge Middle School in Scottsdale Oct. 20 and at Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale Oct. 21.

Saturday: Public middle schools

The Arizona Republic
-- Oct. 16, 2004

Public middle schools
• Explorer
The Kiev (Ukraine) Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will perform two concerts at the school, beginning at 1:40 and 2:35 p.m. Wednesday. The 165-member group is on a West Coast tour through November. The group will perform classical masterpieces and traditional Ukrainian folk music. The conductor, Roger McMurrin, is Principal Marianne Bursi's uncle.

Friday: Public high schools

The Arizona Republic -- Oct. 15, 2004

Public high schools
• Chaparral
The Kiev (Ukraine) Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will perform at the school at 7 p.m. Thursday in the auditorium. The 165-member group is on a West Coast tour through November. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students. Visit for more information.

The Arizona Republic -- Scottsdale/Northeast Valley briefs -- Oct. 16, 2004

Kiev symphony to play Chaparral High School

SCOTTSDALE -- As part of its West Coast tour, the Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will perform at Chaparral High School at 7 p.m. Thursday in the auditorium. The 165-member group is on tour through November. Tickets are available through the DC Ranch Welcome Center and will also be available at the door -- $20 for adults and $10 for students. The phone number for tickets is (480) 538-9212.

The orchestra will also perform two concerts for students at Explorer Middle School on Wednesday afternoon.

Kiev Symphony, Chorus to perform in Scottsdale

Lois McFarland -- Scottsdale Community Section, The Ariznona Republic -- Oct. 19, 2004

SCOTTSDALE -- The 165-member Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus from Ukraine will perform 7 p.m. Thursday at Chaparral High School, 6935 E. Gold Dust Ave.

The chorus and orchestra, on a five-week U.S. tour that began Oct. 1 in Southern California and ends Nov. 3 in Iowa, will be staying with 75 Northeast Valley families from Wednesday afternoon until Friday morning.

Carla Nathan, chairwoman of ECHO (Educational Coalition for Heightened Opportunities), sponsors of the Scottsdale concert, has had the task of locating housing for the visitors. ECHO is a component fund of the DC Ranch Community Foundation. advertisement 

Students as well as families will have a chance to exchange cultural ideas with the musicians. Nathan and three other families in her neighborhood will combine efforts and share dinner Wednesday night with eight Ukrainians staying in their homes.

"We'll try to serve things they like," added Nathan mentioning that a six-page "Host Family Information" packet was given to each family.

According to the food preference sheet, they "love chicken" almost any way it's served "as long as it isn't fried." Along with a reminder: "Chicken Kiev was named for their hometown."

Hosts are warned not to serve "hot and spicy" foods, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or anything with mayonnaise. And, the visitors never mix salt and sugar in the same food item or eat salted and sweetened foods in the same part of the meal.

Conductor Roger McMurrin will be staying at the home of his niece, Marianne Bursi, principal of Explorer Middle School in the Paradise Valley School District.

On Thursday morning seven Ukrainians will meet with and listen to a special performance by Jennifer Mireau's Top Wind Ensemble at Chaparral High and then visit with her class. Also on Thursday, students at Copper Ridge Middle School will interview two of the guests during a broadcast to both the middle and elementary schools. While at Desert Canyon Elementary, two chorus members will attend school in their native costumes.

The Kiev musicians were organized by conductor Roger McMurrin after a 1992 Ukraine concert tour. McMurrin, his wife, Diane, and son, Matthew, moved from Florida to Ukraine in 1993. He established the Kiev Symphony and Chorus with 100 singers and 60 musicians. It is now is on its sixth U.S. tour.

Lois McFarland is a correspondent for the Scottsdale Republic. She can be reached at

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