Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra gets special welcome ahead of historic US tour

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Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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United Airlines hosted a welcome event at Newark for the Ukrainian Orchestra as it gets ready to kick off its U.S. Freedom tour.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- As the war in Ukraine rages on, a special event was held at Newark Liberty International Airport on Tuesday to shine a bright light on the beauty and magic of its people.

There was a warm welcome at the airport for the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra as it gets ready to kick off its U.S. tour.

The group of 85 musicians have heard the sounds of war but continue to offer a melody of hope.

They brought with them a message of resilience.

"Of course it is a very tragic reason why I am here now but I am excited...I'm happy to be here and I'm thankful," musician Julia Tokach said.

The trip was sponsored by United Airlines.

"We are supporting the mission of them coming here to really signal an opportunity to support the community of Ukraine," said Jordan Bykowsky, director of Airport Operations Customer Service.

When the tour is over, several members of the orchestra will return to Ukraine to serve in the military.

"It can happen in any moment, so even to do this tour, we had to ask special permission from the minister of defense in Ukraine," Nazari Stets said.

Some of the group comes from the war-torn areas of Ukraine. The Metropolitan Opera and the Polish National Orchestra made it possible for all the musicians to come together.

Two of its historic concerts will be held at Lincoln Center on Aug. 18 and 19.

Limited, free advance reservation tickets were made available on Monday. General admission tickets will be available the day of on a first-come, first-served basis.

While tickets will be free, donations are encouraged to organizations supporting the resettlement of Ukrainians.

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