UCF musicians come together to help violinist who returned to Orlando from Ukraine

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church set up donation link to benefit Iryna Usova

A Ukrainian alumna of the University of Central Florida built a lasting relationship through music with an Oviedo family, which is putting on a benefit concert to help her rebuild her life.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Iryna Usova is grateful to her University of Central Florida music family for a concert in support of her after leaving her country, Ukraine.

“I’m very grateful to everyone who supports me in this situation,” the violinist said prior to the concert that took place in St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Oviedo.

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“I was glad to see her but I’m sorry it was under these circumstances,” said George Weremchuk, a UCF saxophone professor.

Weremchuk met Usova when she was a graduate student at UCF in 2016, but after earning her master’s degree in music, Usova went back home to Ukraine.

“I haven’t heard her play since she was a student here and I’m so happy to hear the wonderful sound she’s producing,” Weremchuk said.

Six years later, Usova and Weremchuk reunited at the concert that was organized by UCF music professor and violinist, Ayako Yonetani.

“We’re here to play our hearts out and remember the people of Ukraine,” Weremchuk said.

It was a personal moment for the UCF professor. His parents immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine in the 1950s and they still have family living in Kyiv.

“They survived the first part of the war but now their lives are coming back to somewhat kind of normalcy. But until it’s completely over, they’re not completely safe,” Weremchuk said.

The concert was to raise funds for Usova, who is starting a new life in Central Florida after arriving on May 28 to live with the Morris family in Oviedo. Through the United for Ukraine program, the family was able to sponsor her.

“We always were very, very close. We see each other, and she’s like my big sister, and I’m her little sister,” Natalie Morris said.

The two met in 2016 when Usova became her violin teacher.

“She’s always been there for her support so we’ve always been grateful for that, that Natalie’s got somebody that she can connect to,” said Natalie’s mother, Christina Morris.

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church set up a link to donate to support Usova, which you can find here.

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About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.