Once upon a time the New York City Chapter used to hold a grand black tie ball in mid-winter. Debutantes were presented. Crowds of revelers were large. It was quite simply one of the cornerstones of the New York Metro Ukrainian community's social calendar.
Over time as the community changed, different debutante balls entered the picture. Today we have the Chervona Kalyna Ball, the Plast Newark Debutante Ball and the SUM Debutante Ball.
As the NYC Board surveyed the calendar, we began to wonder if there was room for the revival of UESA's event. After careful consideration, the Board decided that it would pursue the re-establishment of the Engineers' Malanka event to celebrate the New Year.
The first "renewed" Malanka took place at the Ramada Inn in East Hanover, New Jersey on January 15th, 2005. The evening began with a short cocktail hour where guests could mingle and exchanged greeting and best wishes for the coming New Year. Guests were also able to view a video tape, made by Damian Kolodij, of the demonstrations and events at the Kyiv Maidan. The video showed Yulia Timoshenko and others galvanizing and encouraging the thousands of protestors that had gathered on the Maidan.
After the cocktail hour, New York City Board member Ivan Durbak opened the evening program and welcomed all the guests on behalf of the organizing UESA chapters (New York City and New Jersey).
This was followed by an invocation by former UESA president, Fr. George Bazylevsky. Upon conclusion of the invocation, Fr. Bazylevsky provided some kind words about the direction of UESA's revitalization and the revival of an event such as the Malanka.
National UESA president Andrij Wowk was the next to speak. He also provided encouraging words and thanks for the revival of the Malanka.
Upon the conclusion of remarks, the organizers decided to take some time to honor the historic events in Ukraine. First, a poem was recited by Anna Anorichin. This poem was dedicated to the Orange Revolution and the blossoming of Ukrainian Democracy.
Finally, Dr. Jurij Savyckyj showed a video of the recent dramatic events. Dr. Savyckyj had recently visited Kyiv and served as an international election monitor in Dontesk. He described the election process, the measures taken to reduce the abuses and falsifications which occurred in the earlier rounds of voting, and also provided a psychological perspective of the Ukrainian people persevering through these difficult and challenging times.
Once all of the remarks were concluded, the New Year’s festivities began in earnest. The music was provided by the orchestra "Chornozem." As some of you may note, Chornozem has provided music for other past UESA events such as the Post Labor-Day / Fall Zabava and the ‘tovaryska zustrich held at Soyuzivka this past Labor Day weekend.
The music and dancing continued to early in the morning. Along the way, the guests were also entertained by a short "kolomjyka" provided by some of the members of the Syzokryli Dance Ensemble.
In general, it appears that everyone was very satisfied with the overall event. Several people had commented on positive reflection which the revival of this event had on both the organizing chapters and UESA as whole.
The New York City Chapter is fully committed to ensuring the success and long term viability of this event. In the future, once the National Board has formally incorporated the UESA Charitable Fund, the chapter hopes to use this event to raise funds for projects such as the scholarship program. Additionally, we are always eager to hear comments and suggestion from our members and their guests which will aid us in continually improving this event.
To see a photo gallery from the Malanka, click here.