Support for Ukraine focus of concert at Sunderman Conservatory

Students and faculty at Gettysburg College presented a benefit concert to raise money for a Ukrainian children's hospital.

Support for Ukraine focus of concert at Sunderman Conservatory
Dr. Jocelyn Swigger plays the piano to accompany Jeffrey Fahnestock, tenor, as he sings a collection of Romani folk songs at the benefit concert for Ukraine.

Students and faculty at Gettysburg College presented a poignant show of solidarity and support for the people of Ukraine Saturday night as they performed a benefit concert to raise money for a children’s hospital in the war-torn country.

Performers from the college’s Sunderman Conservatory of Music played classical pieces highlighting works from Eastern European composers. Each of the participants worked on their pieces in their spare time, as the concert was not part of any planned coursework.

“I did a lot of practicing,” said Jenny Jordan, a junior who majors in music performance. She played the violin for Henryk Wienawski’s “Concerto for Violin No. 2, Op. 22,” accompanied by Dr. Jocelyn Swigger on the piano.

“A lot of it was getting over the nerves,” Jordan said. “[Dr. Swigger] helped me work through it. She said ‘We’re really grateful to be able to be nervous about this. We’re grateful to perform for this.’”

Jordan added that knowing the money raised from the concert would help people in Ukraine gave the performance “extra meaning.”

“Ultimately it was a really beautiful piece that I was playing. Knowing who I was performing for, it gave me a lot of motivation.”

The concert program provided attendees with a QR code that directed them to a website accepting donations for critical medical supplies for Khmelnytskyi City Children’s Hospital in western Ukraine. The website features different supplies which donors can purchase in individual units.

The college made the connection to the donation site through Dr. Rimvydas Baltaduonis, an economics professor, and the Lithuanian City of London Club. Baltaduonis is originally from Lithuania.

Dr. William Bowman, chair of the international and global studies program, said the concert was the result of collaboration between several departments as part of a week of student programming that focused on the history and culture of Eastern Europe.  

“We very much had in mind to have a cultural component. This was the highlight, the culmination,” he said.

The idea for the concert developed in late spring. Bowman said he knew it would be important “to bring people’s attention back” to the war in Ukraine when students returned in the fall. With recent developments in the war continuing to be in the news, it “proved to be incredible timing to talk about difficult topics.”

“We talk about being global citizens,” Bowman added. “This was an opportunity to move from the theoretical to the practical. In a very small way, this was maybe to do something to help in a global situation.”

To donate to the Khmelnytskyi City Children's Hospital, click here.