Several prominent chamber choirs in the Portland area are staging a benefit concert together to raise aid money for Ukraine.
The hour-long “Voices for Ukraine” concert will be held on Sunday at Portland First United Methodist Church and will feature performances from Cappella Romana, Portland State Chamber Choir, Grant High School A Cappella Choir, Portland Symphonic Choir and the Oregon Repertory Singers.
The choral groups plan to sing a select list of traditional songs from Ukraine, says Mark Powell, executive director of Cappella Romana.
The planned concert finale will feature all five local choirs singing Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s “Da pacem Domine,” which translates to “Give peace, Lord.”
The idea for the concert first came to fruition about three weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. That’s when Powell got a call from Claire Robertson-Preis, the executive director of the Portland Symphonic Choir.
“[The Portland Symphonic Choir] decided to change their May 1st concert to be something that could be collaborative with multiple choirs, raising money for Ukrainian people,” he says. “And from there, we started talking about who the other collaborators could be and how that all might come together.”
With 180 singers to look after, organizing the concert was no small feat. But despite the logistics, Powell said that he was thankful that the coordination went smoothly.
“I hope it’s one of many collaborative things that we do, and it’s of course too bad that it took a war for us to put our heads together,” he says. “It moves people to do the right thing and to step up and support people who are in distress. And that’s a beautiful function of music in our society.”
Powell is hoping to raise $50,000 from the concert, which will then be donated to the nonprofit Mercy Corps. The relief organization is currently on the ground in Ukraine, Romania, and Poland, assisting refugees and supporting local organizations distributing food and medical supplies.
For concert information, visit voicesforukraine.org.