CLEVELAND (WJW) – Multiple world class musicians take the stage at a very special concert Friday night to benefit the people of Ukraine.
The event was called “Sonyashnyk” which is the Ukrainian word for sunflower and the country’s national flower.
“Everybody pitched in, the idea was received with so much support and love,” said Nercise Fejes, who helped organize the concert.
The Cleveland Museum of Art provided the Art’s Gartner Auditorium for the venue, and all of the performers donated their time and talents; including Grammy-winning pianist Emmanuel Ax and members of the Cleveland Orchestra.
A local Ukrainian choir sang the Ukrainian national anthem and several other singers took the stage wearing traditional attire.
“It is just this one little thing we could offer that we are coming together through the arts, music and the community,” said Fejes. “We wanted to do something for this city because we have a very large Ukrainian population.”
Ohio has the third largest Ukrainian population in the United States with the majority living in Northeast Ohio.
Many in the audience and on stage wore blue and yellow ribbons and said they still have family overseas.
“It means a lot to me, to my family in Ukraine. I have a lot of family members in Ukraine,” said 8-year-old Aleksandra Haydash, who performed as part of the Ukrainian American Youth Association.
All of the ticket proceeds from the sold out event will be divided equally among three charities on the ground in Ukraine: Cleveland Maidan Association, World Central Kitchen and Global Giving’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund.
In total, $58,600 was raised at the event and many hearts lifted.
“There’s so little we can do, and there’s a lot of atrocities happening so it is nice to show Ukraine support and that people care,” said Elizabeth Broderick, International Law Student and attendee.