‘Saturday Night Live’ opens with folk chorus tribute to Ukraine

“Saturday Night Live” paid tribute to Ukraine in its cold opening, featuring a folk chorus singing a traditional anthem from the eastern European country.

>> Saturday Night Live’ opens with folk chorus tribute to Ukraine

Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong introduced members of the Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York, Variety reported. The group of singers, wearing traditional embroidered outfits, sang “Prayer for Ukraine,” the entertainment outlet reported.

The camera then panned to a table of candles that surrounded the spelling of “Kyiv,” the Ukrainian capital, according to The Hollywood Reporter. There were also bouquets of yellow flowers that paid tribune to Ukraine’s national colors of yellow and blue, according to Variety.

According to Ukrainian Weekly, the chorus was founded by Ukrainian immigrants in the 1940s in order to “preserve and cultivate the rich musical heritage of Ukraine.” The decision to feature an emotional tribute from the folk chorus followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.

“SNL” rarely opens its show on such a serious note. In the first episode following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Paul Simon sang “The Boxer” next to then-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Rolling Stone reported.

In 2016, McKinnon, dressed as Hillary Clinton, delivered a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on the piano after Donald Trump won the presidential election, the magazine reported.

After “Prayer for Ukraine” ended, McKinnon and Strong returned to deliver the show’s opening, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night,” while the camera zoomed in the candles, Variety reported.