A rain that chilled the bone touched the Northeast Pennsylvania region known as the Poconos during the evening hours of Monday, April 18th. It was a dark contrast to the warm, seasonal weather the area enjoyed during the initial weeks of the Spring Equinox. However, the meteorological conditions of the night did not dissuade the large number of people who came to The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort in Shawnee-On-The-Delaware, PA, to demonstrate their support for the Ukrainian people who are suffering from the invasion of their country by Russia.
The event was titled “Poconos For Peace – Community Concert and Art Sale to Benefit Ukraine” and was held in the Inn’s Worthington Ballroom. A plethora of art greeted the eye when one entered the room that encompassed a wide variety of styles and themes. Conversations regarding the work that was explored were in abundance, as well as those who shared thoughtful concourses regarding the concerns of the people of Ukraine. This engagement soon gave way as the individual who announced the festivities of the evening were about to commence while sharing his appreciation to all who were in attendance.
The individual was followed by another who shared her story in regards to the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military. She related the many hardships her family is enduring as troops are occupying parts of western areas of the country. She also conveyed how Russian troops are raping not only women but young children as well. It was after her talk did the gathering fall into thoughtful reflection on the situation in Ukraine as the first group of performers took their place.
A duo of young women named Mariella and Gabriela Zazovskly began the evening by singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” (US National Anthem) with words by Francis Scott Key set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society (a men’s social club in London titled, “To Anacreon in Heaven” (or “The Anacreontic Song”), “I Stand by You” by Rachel Platten, and “You Raise Me Up” by Secret Garden. The evening continued with a Violin Quartet consisting of Karina Bernatowicz, Mena Horvath, Aaron Piancone, and Anna Straton, who performed “Quarter for Four Violins, op 107,” “I. Allegro Moderato,” “II Allegro Giocoso,” and “IV Finale” by Ignaz Lachner. They were followed by Roy Ramos, who performed “What’s Going On?” by Marvin Gaye on guitar and “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” by Peter, Paul, and Mary on Ukulele. He was followed by Pianist Alexei Bereslavski who performed a French Waltz from “Under Paris Skies” and “Jazz Cat” by Catherine Rollin, along with “Under Palm Trees” by Nadia Trofimova while accompanied by Tarmara Volskaya. He was followed by Midge McClosky of the Shawnee Playhouse, who sang “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” by Harold Arlen.
The evening continued with Brandon Hanks from Rebel Stages, who sang the “I’ll Cover You” Reprise from RENT by Jonathan Larson. He was followed by Pianist Mark Rogov who performed “Spinning Song” by Albert Ellmenreich and “Arabesque Burgmiller” by Fredrich Burgmiller. He was followed by Guitarist Jessica Delfino who performed her own compositions titled “I Am A Mom” and “Spiders and Rain.” She was followed by Guitarist Brandon M. who sang “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond, “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker, “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran, and “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars. He was followed by Tarmara Volskaya, who performed a Ukrainian Medley she composed on a Bandura along with “Beautiful Dreamer” by S. Foster as Arranged by C. Bloom and the Finale from Gioachino Rossini’s “The William Tell Overture” titled “March of the Swiss Soldiers” as arranged by Ms. Volskaya from which the theme music for The Lone Ranger is derived from.
Ms. Volskaya’s Finale proved to be a rousing conclusion to the entertainment portion of the evening. She was followed by some closing words by the event’s announcer and the playing of the Ukrainian National Anthem. The names of the winners of the event’s raffle were shared and followed by more conversation and fellowship of all who were present. The evening provided a deeper understanding of the Ukrainian People’s plight and a profound sense of purpose in helping them.
The Poconos For Peace – Community Concert and Art Sale to Benefit Ukraine was organized by Katya Trofimova of Tillanelli Studio www.tillanelli.com, which is an international illustration agency created by ladies that represents twenty-eight female artists from all over the world. In addition to the performances of classical and folk music by local musicians, local artists donated their work to raise funds for people in Ukraine. Additional donations from those who attended the event were accepted as well. 100% of the friends gained through sales and donations will go to Razom (which means “together” in Ukrainian) for Ukraine which is a non-profit Ukrainian-American human rights organization established to support the people of Ukraine in their pursuit of a democratic society with dignity, justice, and human and civil rights for all. You can learn more information and how to make a donation to aid the Uranian People by visiting their website at www.razomforukraine.org.
Paul Adam Smeltz is the Facilitator of The Forwardian Arts Society. A fellowship for people who love the arts. Www.forwardianarts.org