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Ukrainian clarinetist worried for family in embattled Kharkiv

Posted at 8:15 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 22:58:04-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — As Russian forces continue to bombard Ukraine, the war hits close to home for a Ukrainian man whose family is stuck in Kharkiv.

Sergei Vassiliev moved to Colorado Springs back in 2008 to play in the orchestra. He later joined the Colorado Springs Philharmonic as a clarinetist.

Last weekend, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic honored him and other Ukrainians with a performance of the Ukraine National Anthem.

"My colleagues are amazing. I broke down when they asked me if they could do it. I said of course this is a good cause," said Vassiliev.

"The Colorado Springs Philharmonic is not just one player, it's not just a few players, it's 76 musicians. Many of them are from all over the world so there is a variety of different personalities in the orchestra, but there is a deep care and respect for one another. Everyone in the orchestra knows Sergei Vassiliev is from Ukraine and I give credit to the musicians, Vassiliev, and music director for putting this idea together and into action," said Nathan Newbroug, Colorado Springs Philharmonic.

Vassiliev says his family is stuck in embattled Kharkiv, the largest second city in Ukraine.

"It was just a shock. We knew there was a build-up but we didn't think, we thought he was just trying to get something or a political thing. It would be unbelievable because we are brother nations," said Vassiliev.

His family is safe at the moment, but unable to move to safety due to the constant attacks.

"They've just been relentless attacking Kharkiv with tanks, airplanes, illegal cluster bombs, and vacuum bombs," said Vassiliev.

Vassiliev says he's been in constant contact with his family and following news outlets to track the latest developments in his native country.

"I have just been trying to talk to them as much as I can because I don't know when the last time is going to be," said Vassiliev.

He is now encouraging the community to help in any way they can. For those interested in helping Ukrainians, visit this website.