Valeriia Honchar’s journey to Nyack College is both unique and inspiring. She was born in Kherson, a Southern city in Ukraine. She moved to Canada in 2010, where she has lived in Saskatchewan, and now resides in London, Ontario. Valeriia has been surrounded by music since the age of five. She performed in many Ukrainian folk competitions growing up, and also loves musical theater. Valeriia didn’t really start getting into Classical music until her stint at Western University in London, Ontario. It has now turned into a passion for her. She is a rare fourth year transfer student, and is so grateful that God opened a door for her to become a Vocal Performance major at Nyack’s School of Music.
A Caring, Faith-filled Community
Valeriia calls it a “remarkable” year for her at Nyack College. At the top of the list of what stands out for her is the genuine care from the community. “I’ve been shocked and amazed at how supportive everyone is.” She has mostly been studying remotely as a student, but that hasn’t stopped her from feeling a true connection to Nyack College. “All of my virtual classmates have been so helpful, and the faculty too.” Her musical knowledge has grown as a student at Nyack, and so has her faith. “I see the faith. And how to be a true believer. I became more connected with God. I am very grateful to be a part of this Nyack family that is so connected to God and Music.” Valeriia was able to visit Nyack College and perform in-person for a Chorale concert, and it was a highlight for her. “Just the energy of the music students. I can’t describe it. When we were all performing it just made you want to get up and dance. What an amazing school.” Valeriia may have a family here at Nyack College, but she also has family back home in the Ukraine. It’s been a very difficult time for her thinking about those back in her homeland.
Chaos at Home in the Ukraine
Valeriia was back in the Ukraine this past winter and summer, and it will always hold a special place in her heart. She is extremely troubled by what is currently happening back home. Valeriia is also quick to point out how proud she is of her country. “They are standing so strong. I see these images of children putting their hands up in front of the tanks. It’s very tough, but they are so strong.” Valeriia is also thankful that all of her family are staying safe. “They are all okay. I’ve become very connected with my grandparents, I talked to them the other day, and the biggest wish that we all have is that the war be over.” Kherson, where Valeriia was born, serves as a shield to Odessa, Ukraine, so it has been hit particularly hard. She also has a cousin based in Odessa. “He’s a radiologist, and it’s been hard for him to keep up with all of the patients.” Valeriia is using her musical talents to raise funds for Ukraine. She is noticing that a lot of the fundraised money goes to bigger cities, so the smaller ones tend to get forgotten. That’s something she wants to change. She performed at a Ukrainian benefit concert in Canada, and the goal is to do one in New York City as well. “I’ve been inspired by all of the musicians and artists from the Ukraine. They all want to support. I do too. I want to perform my own concert. And I want to do it all. Folk, modern, classical Ukrainian songs. Instrumental music too, which is powerful in Ukraine. I want to help.” If there’s a lesson learned from her journey to Nyack College it’s that anything is possible.
What Door God Opens, She’ll Walk Through
“I never would’ve guessed I’d be sitting here at a school in New York City.” It’s important, Valeriia notes, that it took a leap of faith. “There are always difficulties, and I had nerves, but here I am, sharing all of this with you.” She has dreams of becoming a classical performer, or joining a show on Broadway, but Valeriia knows she’ll go where He leads. “Anything is possible. Whichever door God opens for me I will follow it.”
Evangelical Theological Seminary (UETS), a partner seminary of Nyack, is currently in dire need. Please click here to support.
Click here for more information on our School of Music Program.
To hear the full interview with Valeriia please tune into WNYK Warrior Radio on Wednesday, May 18 at 1:00 p.m.