May 17, 2022

Charlie Doodle

Unique Art & Entertainment

Lancaster Symphony Orchestra supporting Ukraine through music

2 min read

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — The Lancaster Symphony Orchestra (LSO) is raising money for Ukraine through a series of three previously planned concerts, but money is not the only way they’re showing support.

“We’re back, we’re performing live,” executive director Guy McIntosh said. “We knew we had to do something.”

LSO is donating 15 percent of ticket sales from these concerts to the Ukraine War Refugee Aid Fund, a relief effort started by Bethany Slavic Church in Ephrata.

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“They’re connected with a network of aid groups and churches and routes to get aid into Ukraine and to get people out of Ukraine,” McIntosh said.

The cause is bringing audience members back to the orchestra, like Dace Eaby, who said this was her first time at an LSO concert in a while.

“I wanted to support Ukraine,” Eaby said. “I feel for the children…young children who don’t really fully understand what is going on, and they have to leave their home.”

Eaby’s parents are refugees themselves. They fled the Soviet Union after World War II.

“The stories that my parents told me after they had to flee the country of Latvia, I just feel for the people in Ukraine,” Eaby said.

However, LSO’s effort is not just about the money. The orchestra is also honoring Ukraine through their music.

“A lot of orchestras are actually canceling pieces on their program if they were by Russian composers or had Russian artists,” McIntosh said.

He said LSO decided to take a different approach. The second half of each concert opens with the Ukrainian national anthem.

“The entire audience stood up while we performed that, it was a very emotional experience,” McIntosh said.

The anthem is followed by a Tchaikovsky symphony, previously titled “Little Russian.”

“It makes use of a great many Ukrainian folk melodies,” guest conductor Michael Butterman said. “It was entirely appropriate to retitle the symphony “The Ukrainian” symphony because it really is in large part a tribute to that culture.”

For both the musicians and their audience, the concert is a moving show of support.

“Here is music that has great emotional impact,” Butterman said.

“It warms my heart that people are coming and making donations and finding out more about what they can do,” Eaby said.

The Ukraine War Refugee Aid Fund has raised more than $670,000 through all its fundraising efforts. The fund is accepting donations online and by check.

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