Ukrainian families at the CAMMAC Music Centre – Summer 2023     

Thanks to generous donations from CAMMAC members and friends, we were delighted to be able to invite four recently immigrated Ukrainian families to attend a week at the CAMMAC Music Centre on Lake MacDonald this summer. Welcoming them to our country with music was so very much appreciated, as you will see in the testimonies below.

We owe the success of this initiative in large part to Tetiana Gerych, who is Ukrainian herself, and a member of our Board of Directors. She met and accompanied the families, translated our documents into Ukrainian for them, and ensured a remarkable follow-up. Many thanks, Tetiana!

We also received invaluable help in identifying and contacting families from Hazel DeNeeve, Ursula Kobel, Bertrand Gagnon, Pierre Deslauriers, Taras Kulish and Kelly Rice. While some CAMMAC members helped with driving our guests to the camp and back (Lucie Bouchard, Connie Leigh, Tetiana), others accepted to “Godparent” them during their stay: Tetiana, Anna Lenk, Gillian Taylor, Raymond Vles and Marie-Claude Giguère, Isabelle Héroux. Artistic Director Guylaine Lemaire, the week directors, and the teaching staff all joined together in making our guests feel integrated into the musical community. Thank you as well to Cynthia Bonenfant for her support for this project.

Here are some testimonials from the families and couple who came to share the joy of making music with us.

WEEK 1

Tetyana Kotsiuba and son Vasyl Perehrest
Godmother: Tetiana Gerych

Thank you very much for such a great and wonderful opportunity to be a part of CAMMAC for a whole week! There are people who make this world a better place and I met them at CAMMAC. You are incredible, creative, funny, and sensitive, you bring good! Thank you so much for the help, so timely and necessary in a difficult period of our lives. Every day, my son Vasyl was delighted to talk about the day spent at CAMMAC, and it was the greatest joy for me to see the happy eyes of a child. Vasyl’s guitar playing improved a lot – he ran to Michel’s lessons with great joy. May good return to you with prosperity, well-being, and generous helping hands at the right time. No matter how strong we are, support increases our strength! Thank you for your support! CAMMAC will forever remain in our hearts! 💙💛 Sincerely, Tetyana Kotsiuba and Vasyl Perehrest.

 

From Tetiana Gerych:

Having Tetyana and Vasyl there during week 1 was a huge success, not only from their point of view but also, I would say, for every one of the other participants! They were embraced in every sense of the word. Their presence added something very special, very “CAMMAC” to the experience – the caring for others, the sharing, the inclusion regardless of level of proficiency, background, and age – all values that are at the core of this special place!

WEEK 5

Yevheniia Sadim, mother of Sofia (11) and Milana (5), and her sister Yuliana Klabka
Godparents: Marie-Claude Giguère and Raymond Vles

We have already returned home from CAMMAC, but our thoughts are still there. Every day spent at the music camp was full of incredible experiences and pleasant acquaintances. You gave me a love for music. I never thought that I would regret not knowing musical notes (we tried to take an active part in the choir). The children at the final concert showed incredible results, the eldest daughter can play the piano and the flute, and the youngest can sing, dance, and play the drum. I set myself the goal of preserving and multiplying the knowledge we received thanks to you. CAMMAC Music Camp is a truly unique place where very sincere, talented, and friendly people gather. I am grateful to God for this opportunity to be a part of the musical community. Thank you for your initiative to help Ukrainians, we really appreciate it. We wish you inspiration and development. Sincerely, Yevgenia, Ulyana, Sofia and Milana 💙💛

 

Olga Samoulenko and son Heorhij
Godmother: Anna Lenk

Good day, dear Ms. Tetiana!!!! Many thanks to everyone responsible for our invitation to this wonderful camp!!! This is an enchanting world of music! Wonderful and talented people! We will never forget this unparalleled Sunday! We fell in love with CAMMAC forever! You are, Ms Tetiana, our good angel and we thank you separately as a good person. Yours forever, Heorhij and Olha!

 

From Anna Lenk:

I was asked to be “godmother” to Olga Samoulenko and her son Heorhij. Marie-Claude Giguère was “godmother” to Yevhenia, Uliana, and Yevhenia’s daughters, Sofia and Milana. The week was a great success. The lives of these recent arrivals in Montreal are not easy. CAMMAC provided a summer vacation in nature, and community, some respite from childcare, fun for both the kids and adults, and information about music education.

Tetiana spent the Sunday evening with Olga, orienting her to CAMMAC and making sure that Heorhij was registered for activities in the children’s program. Marie-Claude did the same for Yevhenia’s family. Olga speaks only a few words of English. Uliana has some English, but Yevhenia became the interpreter for all three since her English is pretty good. I think the three adults are all signed up for French classes in Montreal, but learning two languages at once would be a huge challenge for anyone.

Tetiana had a lead role in bringing the Ukrainian families to CAMMAC. Many other people helped, among them board members Sylvie and François. Sylvie participated in the afternoon dance class along with the 3 Ukrainian adults. This class, which required no music reading ability and minimal English or French, was fun, and sociable, and provided an opportunity to participate in the Saturday night concert. François encouraged the adults to participate in the choirs and provided information about music education for children in Montreal. My camping buddies were welcoming towards Olga and Heorhij when they came over for dinner and a tour.

Heorhij had taken 4 years of piano lessons in Ukraine, but Yevhenia told me that the idea of participating in music was new to her. The idea of adult amateur musicians seemed to be a surprise to all three of the adults. After the week at CAMMAC, not only does Yevhenia want her children to study music, but she also wants it for herself.

WEEK 6

Anastasiia Krasheninnikova and Oleksandr Kozynets
Godmothers: Isabelle Héroux (guitar teacher) and Gillian Taylor (participant)

To all the organizers, staff, and kind people who gave us a happy week at CAMMAC,

We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the opportunity to spend an unforgettable week at CAMMAC. Alex and I, we knew it would be amazing, but we couldn’t even imagine we would join magical world of people united by their love for music. We felt like we were among good friends we’ve known our whole lives and cherished every moment spent there. The generosity and openness of both the participants and the team of teachers and staff, as well as the high level of organization, impressed us. I don’t think it even makes sense to begin talking about their talent and professionalism. The theme of the week speaks for itself: the stars are seen best in darkness. Thank you for the stars! Sincerely, Nastia and Alex

Thank you to everyone!!!

Margaret Little
Chairperson, CAMMAC Board of Directors