Petaluma musician stages concert to benefit Ukraine
In his 80 years on Earth, Petaluma clarinetist Paul Alexander always has cared about people far and near.
“I am aware there is a great deal of suffering all over the world. I want to do something,” Alexander said.
And he has. He staged five benefit concerts for various causes, including Doctors Without Borders, between 2015 and 2019.
Now, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Alexander is turning his efforts to raising money for relief there.
He has amassed a long list of talent from the Bay Area and elsewhere for his Support Ukraine Benefit Concert, scheduled for May 7 in Petaluma.
Performers will include Alexander and his own Jubilee Klezmer Band, the Berkely-based trio Veretski Pass, the Lowiczanie Polish Dance Ensemble, the Kolyada Ukrainian Folk Choir and Ukrainian violinist Igor Veligan, accompanied by his wife Mira Veligan on piano.
“I wanted to get Ukrainian performers, and I reached out to a lot of musicians,” Alexander said. “Then I got the idea to include Polish musicians, since Poland is offering support to Ukrainian refugees.”
The concert, co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia, will be at the First Presbyterian Church of Petaluma, but this is not a drop-in event, and no one will be admitted at the door without a ticket purchased in advance.
KlezCalifornia, based El Cerrito, is an organization dedicated to preserving and sharing Yiddish culture.
Attendance is limited to 100 people, and Alexander expects the show to sell out early. Admission costs a $50 minimum donation per person. Only donations made through the jubileeklezmer.com website are eligible for tickets.
“We are having donations directed to three organizations working in Ukraine and surrounding countries,” Alexander said.
Concert attendees can decide which one of the three they want to donate to in order to receive their tickets. The beneficiary organizations are:
IRC (International Rescue Committee), which is providing food, medical care and emergency support services in Ukraine and Poland.
Global Giving's Ukraine Crisis Fund, which is providing shelter, food and clean water, as well as health and psychological and social support and access to education and economic assistance in Ukraine and Poland and the surrounding countries to which refugees have fled.
World Central Kitchen which is serving meals at eight border crossings in Poland and across the country and is supporting local restaurants preparing meals in Odessa, Lviv and Kyiv.
This fundraising concert, certainly not Alexander’s first, probably won’t be his last.
“In Africa, India and all over the world, people are suffering,” he said. “I want to help everyone.”
You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at email@example.com or 707-521-5243. On Twitter @danarts.
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