Packard group pays tribute to Ukraine | News, Sports, Jobs

Staff Photo / Bob Coupland Dave Drevna of Boardman, a member of the WD Packard Concert Band, performs during a concert Sunday at the Packard Music Hall in Warren. The band played the Ukrainian national anthem to open the concert and show their support for Ukrainians, which includes those close to Drevna.

WARREN — The WD Packard Concert Band held their annual March Mania concert again on Sunday after canceling it for the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The band’s opening song was the Ukrainian national anthem, which it played to show its support for the European country which was invaded by Russia.

The concert included marches from many countries, including the United States, Spain, Italy, Austria and Great Britain, as well as circus and film marches. The guest conductor was Jerry Ascione, retired from the United States Navy.

Thomas Groth, executive director, Groth said he saw the cast of the Metropolitan Opera sing the Ukrainian national anthem at the end of one of his recent performances.

“We wanted to do this to show our respect to those in Ukraine. We are giving this concert in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and the courageous and compassionate defense of their country,” said Groth.

He said protocol dictates that all other hymns are played before the reading of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Boardman’s Dave Drevna, a band member who has family in Ukraine, said: “It’s very heartwarming and caring for the group to do this.”

“We really need to include the national anthem. It is good that we do this. said band member Rick Bartunek of Warren, who has distant relatives from the Czech Republic.

Warren’s Genevieve Germaniuk said her late husband, Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk, had relatives from the Ukrainian region.

“It’s wonderful that the band is including this song today,” she says.

Champion’s Carl Antonelli said he enjoyed the playing of the Ukrainian national anthem, noting fears that Russian President Vladimir Putin would do his bidding.

“He’s a tyrant. It’s like a Russian revolution. All he does is attack hospitals, children. It’s crazy. I think the United States is behind the Ukrainian people,” Antonelli said.

Groth said the gig was the first of many canceled since the pandemic began in March 2020. The numerous canceled gigs over 17 months marked the longest layoff in the band’s history, he said. .

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