Mormon musician takes up unfamiliar instrument to serve in Ukraine

Mormon composer Kathleen Holyoak wasn't asked to build an ark or part the Red Sea.

No, she was merely asked to write the music for the 30-piece orchestra and 135-voice choir that performed at the cultural celebration event held prior to the Kyiv Ukraine Temple dedication.

And, she was to be one of the musicians in the bandura sectional — musicians playing ancient instruments that aren't even made anymore from music that doesn't exist.

No problem, except that the 66-year-old Holyoak doesn't speak, read or write Russian.

But she's game, and she trusts the Lord to help her with such challenges.

"When I was asked to take on this assignment, I was overwhelmed," Holyoak said. "It was enormous, but everything just fell into place."

Writing and arranging the orchestral music was possible because Holyoak has the gift of perfect pitch, so she can hear exactly the note she wants in a piece of music.

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