A Concert for Ukraine to raise vital funds for Ukrainians as Russian invasion forces country into crisis

Headshot of Kellie Balaam
Kellie BalaamAlbany Advertiser
Rod Vervest and Michael Goldschlager at the Albany Entertainment Centre.
Camera IconRod Vervest and Michael Goldschlager at the Albany Entertainment Centre. Credit: Laurie Benson

Musicians will come together in song for a charity concert in Albany that will raise funds for the people of Ukraine as the Russian invasion continues to ravage the country.

A Concert for Ukraine will take place at Albany Entertainment Centre on April 3 to raise money for charities providing vital medical assistance in the country’s war-torn cities.

All ticket revenue will be donated to charities Caretas and Doctors Without Borders, organisations actively involved in the humanitarian needs of Ukrainians.

Since Russia launched a full-scale military invasion into Ukraine on February 24, the conflict has caused thousands of deaths and forced millions of Ukrainians to flee to neighbouring countries.

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The benefit concert is being curated by Cappuccino Concerts founders Rob and Irina Buevska-Cowell who have been dedicated to delivering intimate concerts around WA for 12 years.

Concert patron Tony Lennon and Irina Buevska-Cowell.
Camera IconConcert patron Tony Lennon and Irina Buevska-Cowell. Credit: Supplied

The event is of significant importance to Ms Buevska-Cowell who knows all too well the effects the Russian invasion has had on her Ukrainian community.

Ms Buevska-Cowell studied in Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv as a young child and graduated as a concert pianist from the Kharkiv National University of Arts, also known as the Conservatorium of Kharkiv.

International news reports say the university has since been bombed.

Ms Buevska-Cowell, who was born in the Russian capital Moscow, spent four years studying piano at the conservatory before moving to Australia in 2003.

The pianist said the concert was her way of helping her family and friends from afar.

Ms Buevska-Cowell’s 92-year-old great grandmother was trapped on the eighth floor of an apartment building in Kharkiv.

Ms Buevska-Cowell received “nightly petrified phone calls” from her grandmother about the terror that is happening around Kharkiv.

The woman’s apartment had the front doors removed, and the windows broken by Russians dressed as civilians.

Rod Vervest and Michael Goldschlager at the Albany Entertainment Centre.
Camera IconRod Vervest and Michael Goldschlager at the Albany Entertainment Centre. Credit: Laurie Benson

Ms Buevska-Cowell’s university friends had managed to leave, with family members deciding to stay inside the war zone.

“The majority of people managed to escape to other countries like Germany or the western part of Ukraine is safer but no one can predict what will happen,” she said.

“Because I’m here in Australia, so far away from Ukraine and what’s happening there, I just needed to do something about it,” she said.

“Instead of sitting here watching all the news, I thought being a musician myself I’ll get a concert going to help people in need.”

The Concert for Ukraine will combine the talents of Australian and Ukrainian classical artists.

It will be a family affair for the Buevska-Cowell’s whose children aged 12 and 14 will play in a trio alongside their mother.

Mr Buevska-Cowell will perform with Albany locals Adam Morris and Rod Vervest.

Albany’s Michael Goldschlager will perform as a soloist and with piano accompaniment.

There will also be a rare performance using the AEC’s Steinway grand pianos performed by Ms Buevska-Cowell and Anna Sleptsova.

The concert will kick off at 3pm at the AEC on April 3.

To donate visit https://bit.ly/3illyFM

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