Heart of the City Festival features concert & dinner at Ukranian Hall

Lots of cultural mix at Ukranian Hall
for concert & dinner event

Nov 6th, 3pm concert 6pm dinner
Ukranian Hall, 805 East Pender St.
Heart of the City Festival

First Nations, Chinese, Hawaiian, Ukranian, and British ethnicities and cultures mix together at Heart of the City Festival.  David Nahanee's First Nations family gave the opening welcome and drumming to open the festival.  Savannah Walling and Terry Hunter (back row) are the festival's founders and artistic directors.  Todd Wong (right) was guest accordionist.

William Nahanee explained to me that his family name is of Hawaiian origin, as Hawaiians had come to BC with traders, and settled into the Squamish Nation.  It is now a common name, he explained to me when I told him I had a friend named Nahanee in grade 8. 

I played solo accordion in the second half of the program.  I started out with the Chinese folk song Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower), then a version of Scotland the Brave.  Terry Hunter had give me an introduction to the audience mentioning how I am the creator of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, so I explained that I wanted to acknowledge that Chinese and Scottish pioneers were the founding pioneer cultures of British Columbia – not English and French as in Eastern Canada.  I explained that my great great grandfather had come to Canada and ministered at the Chinese United Church, just up Pender St. It has been a pleasure to participate in the Heart of the City Festival, and I wanted to acknowledge the immigrant groups that have settled in Strathcona and the Downtown Eastside.  The next songs I played were J.S. Bach's Toccata in D Minor and the St. Louis Blues, to acknowledge German and American pioneers to Vancouver, and especially Jelly Roll Morton who had lived at the Patricia Hotel over on Hastings St.

The Ukranian Folk Orchestra played a number of songs for the concert.  Conducted by David Ho, who is Chinese, most of the members are of Ukranian ancestry, and all share an appreciation for Ukranian folk music.  Instruments included flute, violin, lute, mandolin, guitar, drum & percussion.  Sadly, they no longer have an accordion player, which prompted one of the band members asked me to join them.

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Bortsch soup, made from beets – a Ukranian staple, that I first had many many years ago made by a high school friend.

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Cabbage rolls!

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No Ukranian dinner would be complete without perogies.  One of my favorite foods I like to keep stored in the freezer, and smother them with cream cheese.

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Here is the completed dinner with salad, meat balls, beets, cucumbers, cabbage rolls and perogies!

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