The spirit of Ukraine was alive and kicking on Friday 17 January when the Ukrainian communities of Canberra and Queanbeyan came together to celebrate Malanka at St Volodymyr’s parish hall in Lyneham after 17 years break.

Driven by the ever infectious enthusiasm of our dear Parish Priest, Father Andriy Mykytyuk Ukrainian Australians young and old came together to see in the New Year “old Style”. Tanya McDonald, Sonia Domitrak, Fr. Andriy, Ivan Miljenovic, Catherine Wright, Peter Lutak, Maria Domitrak and Helena Olijnyk spent weeks preparing for the event. The hall was decorated with true attention to detail; the tables were lined with hessian and blue runners and featured vintage-style candles and beautiful arrangements of sunflowers and wheat. They sweltered through the 40 degree heat to prepare a sparklingly welcoming venue and a buffet dinner that was second to none.

The organisers’ efforts did not stop there. They worked tirelessly all evening to ensure everyone was comfortable and that service ran smoothly. The bar was well tended by Ivan Miljenovic and the drink flowed generously all evening. The guests, when they arrived at 7pm, were greeted by our Parish Priest and his family and Father Andriy was faultless in his attention to everyone’s comfort. The occasion was opened with a traditional Ukrainian carol, Boh Predvichny, and the hall resounded with the glorious sound of united voices.

Great music was the theme of the evening and without a doubt the highlight was the band “Dischord”. With Father Andriy on base and vocal, Andrew Liszczynsky on guitar, Michael Lysewycz on accordion and Peter Lutak on drums, the crowd was entertained with traditional and contemporary numbers, songs, dances and party games. Peter Lutak, chair of the Parish council, thanked all organisers and guests, conducted the raffle and lead everyone in congratulating Father Andriy on the celebration of his fifth anniversary of the Priesthood.

The community of St Volodymyr’s parish, Canberra-Queanbeyan would like to say a very sincere thank you to Ivan Stefanchuk who generously provided sound equipment for our event and to all guests who joined us for the evening. Representatives of the Ukrainian Embassy, the Sydney Ukrainian community and other specially invited guests made the occasion even more memorable and we venture to hope that we will see them all again soon at our next parish function.

Plans are already underway for next year’s Malanka and one thing is for certain: no one will want to miss it!

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