Musicians Follow Call to New Evangelization

Scythian Founders Speak About Catholic Roots and Aiding Life-Affirming Artists

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Following the call to the new evangelization, founders of the band Scythian are using their own success to help other musicians promote a culture of life with their music through a new initiative: Village Square.

Founded in 2002 by classically trained brothers Daniel and Alexander Fedoryka, Scythian has spent the last 10 years traveling the country mostly on the festival and music venue circuit. Their style is largely rooted in Celtic music, mixed with folk traditions from around the world. Other current band members include Josef Crosby, Andrew Toy, and Ben-David Warner.

«Being Ukrainian,» Daniel Fedoryka told ZENIT in describing their style, «our Eastern Heritage has also made it into the mix as well as bluegrass, zydeco and contemporary sounds. There’s a little of something for everybody, no matter what age.»

Although Scythian has become well established in the secular market, Fedoryka continued, the brothers have maintained the Catholic ties with which they were raised, and have begun to use their music to serve various initiatives within the Church.

«Alexander and I were both raised by parents who had an authentic relationship with God and who loved the Church and its traditions. From an early age I remember going to the Carmelites for the Holy Face Devotion, praying for Mother Teresa and her nuns every night. Later on in life my mother became choir director for the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.»

Scythian accepted an invitation to play for the Little Sisters of the Poor in Philadelphia earlier this year to raise funds for their mission. «We are a headliner on the Celtic Festival Circuit and were looking for a good venue to play in Philadelphia for St. Patrick’s Month,» Fedoryka recounted. «We were narrowing down our search when we got this offer from the most unlikely of corners. We read up on the Little Sisters and their mission and were sold. We knew it would be amusing for our fans to see we’re doing a show entitled ‘Little Sisters of the Poor Spring Concert’ instead of a big music venue, but we had a suspicion that the nuns would blow them away — and that indeed did happen. We were happy to be a part of their effort to raise funds for such a worthy cause and excited about sharing the Sisters’ story with our fans.»

«We have done over 1,200 shows as Scythian and noticed that there was something very different about the Little Sisters’ show,» Fedoryka continued. «Since everyone was there to support a worthy cause, there was a spirit of openness and generosity which spilled over into the show and created a real community. It felt like a village wedding with young and old dancing shoulder to shoulder.»

Following their show for the Sisters, and at the encouragement of Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia to become more engaged with the New Evangelization, the Fedoryka brothers, along with other musicians, «formed a new project called Village Square Productions, which combines quality music with almsgiving, creating what Pope Benedict calls ‘an economy of generosity.'»

The aim of Village Square, he continued, «is to aid Catholic musicians who are producing quality music in gaining the exposure necessary to survive. Recalling the old adage ‘you are what you eat’ we’re seeking to encourage the faithful to be aware of the music they take in — mostly produced by the culture of death — and encourage them to promote a living, thriving Culture of Life by supporting young artists who are faithful to Christ’s teaching.»

Fedoryka said: «It is hard to make a living as a musician and unless people actively support these artists, they will have to retire as soon as they get married and have kids. Our goal is to help these artists to get the exposure they need to make a living and keep contributing to the Culture or Life.»

Proceeds from each of their shows, which will begin next May, will go to a designated charity. «We hope,» Fedoryka said, «that the crowds we pull will form new friendships and yet other cells of faithful living and evangelization.»

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Ann Schneible

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