Ukrainian Musicians Joining SSO Concert at the Castle
06 Jul 2022

Pictured: John Moore, conductor of the Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra together with the Ukrainian refugees who will be joining the orchestra in a picnic concert at Shrewsbury Castle next Wednesday, July 13, in aid of Shropshire Supports Refugees. 

Ukrainian musicians who fled their country, leaving their instruments behind, will play and sing alongside members of the Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra in an outdoor picnic concert at the castle, this July 13. 

Nana Illarionova aged 23, an accomplished violinist, left her violin behind when she fled Ukraine. In order to rehearse with our town's symphony orchestra last night, she borrowed an instrument from viola player Jane Park. 

Nana said she thoroughly enjoyed the experience and  was looking forward to joining in with the castle concert next Wednesday, in aid of Shropshire Supports Refugees.

Nana with the borrowed violin

Nana Illarionova with Jane Park

Olena Sazonkina, a music teacher and pianist in Kyiv, has arranged for a choir of refugees sing the Ukrainian anthem at the concert - they will be joined by Nataliia, who is a conductor in Ukraine: "I'm amazed by the effort that the orchestra is making to raise money and to give support to refugees and musicians," Olena said. 

Jon Box, Chair of Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra, who had the idea of inviting Ukrainian refugee musicians living in Shropshire to join the concert, said, “ It was lovely to see the delight on Nana’s face as she played the violin lent to her by Jane.

"We are delighted to be working with Olena and Nataliia to involve the Ukrainian community in Shropshire in our concert. We hope that this will help the amazing work of Amanda Jones and her team at Shropshire Supports Refugees to continue to provide services to the many displaced families arriving in Shropshire."

Jon Box with the Ukrainian musicians

SSO Chairman Jon Box with Olena and Nataliia

The town’s symphony orchestra returns to the castle for a second year on Wednesday, July 13, with a picnic concert, featuring many well-known works. The capacity for the concert is 500 and more than 300 tickets have been sold already. It is expected to sell out before the night so you are advised to book online early to avoid disappointment.

The programme includes favourites such as the Superman theme tune, Pomp & Circumstance, Jerusalem, Radetsky March, The Big Apple, Die Meistersingers Overture, Nimrod and many more. 

Amanda Jones of Shropshire Supports Refugees said: “'We're delighted to have been chosen as the beneficiary charity for this event. Currently, we have 350 Ukrainians accommodated in Shropshire and another 372 on their way! 

“We also support 22 families from the Middle East and a number of asylum seeking individuals. We rely heavily on donations to keep the level of support we offer going. Our support hub sees up to 50 people a day and we need to ensure the fridges and cupboards are stocked up. 

 “We also run a minimum of nine lessons a week out of the hub and evening classes and ESOL (English language courses) in the hotels in Telford that are hosting the Afghans. Visitors can access help, signposting and support in every aspect of their lives from there.” 

 Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra Castle Concert 2022 is on Wednesday, July 13, at 7pm, gates will open at 6:30pm. 

 If rain or high winds are forecast, the concert will regretfully have to be cancelled, tickets and donations will be refunded. A message will be sent to everyone with advanced bookings. A decision will be made according to the weather forecast at midday on July 13. 

Tickets cost just £2 for adults (children free) with a suggested minimum donation of £5 to Shropshire Supports Refugees - please book in advance via