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Upcoming event is a fusion of two cultures

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An upcoming event will offer two cultures an opportunity to come together in celebration.

The Italian Canadian Foundation of Manitoba Inc., is partnering with Melos Folk Ensemble, an East Kildonan-based Ukrainian performing group, to present Italian-Ukrainian Fusion, an evening of dinner and entertainment.

The event will take place at the Centro Caboto Centre, located at 1055 Wilkes Ave., on Fri., Nov. 16.

Two years ago, the foundation hosted the event with a different Ukrainian ensemble. Foundation president Mario Audino said the previous event was so successful organizers wanted to repeat it this year.

"(Our Italian) community (believes) it’s a good thing to maintain our own culture, but it’s also good to share with others, learn from (other cultures) and appreciate one another in a multicultural context," Audino said.

The foundation hosts an annual Italian-Chinese event, and has previously hosted an Italian-Greek celebration.

"We said why not Italian-Ukrainian — the two cultures have a lot in common," said Audino, a Linden Woods resident.

Michael Zakaluzny, director of the Melos Folk Ensemble, said the group wants to connect with as many cultures as it can.

"(Every culture) has performing arts.  We’re proud of ours, as each nationality is of theirs, and (this event) is an opportunity to learn more about (the Italian) culture and the performing within their culture. That was our goal with doing (the event)," said Zakaluzny, who lives in Garden City.

The evening will consist of a dinner, which features cuisine from both cultures including Italian minestrone soup, penne pasta, Chicken Kiev, and cultural favourites such as perogies, cabbage rolls and gelati. Following the dinner, there will be a one-hour performance by members of the local Italian community and the folk ensemble.

Melos is made up of 40 performers, including a nine-piece orchestra. The ensemble practises weekly at Bronx Park Community Centre on Henderson Highway.

Performances from the Italian community will include singing and dancing by the Splendora D’Italia Folk Dancers of Manitoba.

The last two numbers of the performance will be a joint effort between the Italian and Ukrainian performers — a grand finale featuring both Italian and Ukrainian traditional song.

Zakaluzny said the evening will offer something for everyone.

"There will be great food, and great entertainment," he said.

Tickets for the event are $50 each, with a portion of the funds to be donated to each of the groups involved.

Audino said organizers made a conscious effort to keep ticket prices affordable.

"We wanted to keep the cost relatively low to make it accessible to everybody. Fifty dollars for the meal and the entertainment is a great deal," he said.

"We’re really looking forward to this joint event."

The event begins at 6:30 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m. and entertainment to follow. For more information, or to purchase tickets, contact the Centro Caboto Centre at 204-487-4597, ext. 34.

danielle.finch@canstarnews.com

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