Social Justice/Advocacy General

Plano church holds concert benefiting Ukrainian refugees

Written by Mindia Whittier

The event included a musician with a personal connection to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

St. Andrew United Methodist Church announces it raised $57,137 benefiting relief efforts for Ukraine with a concert hosted on March 21.

United with Ukraine: A Benefit Concert was held at the church’s sanctuary in Plano. All funds raised will go to UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, which is actively serving internally displaced people and refugees within and from Ukraine with food, water, shelter, and other needs.

“It has been said ‘when words fail, music speaks,’ and this conflict in Ukraine has us all speechless,” said Taylor Davis, Director of Music and Worship Arts, St. Andrew UMC. “My involuntary response, as director of music, is to gather musician friends and create unity and peace through art. Individually, we can’t change the world, but music can help change the molecules in the room, which can change hearts and minds across lines of division.”

Davis began making calls to his musician contacts to see if any benefit of this nature had been planned. Upon learning that it had not, he orchestrated the event in two weeks. The concert featured songs of solidarity from some of the finest orchestral musicians across Dallas and Fort Worth, including members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, as well as St. Andrew’s Chancel Choir. 

“The musicians, passionate about the cause, were excited to be a part of this program, expressing that they felt this was important and exactly what the church should be doing during this time,” said Davis. “One of our musicians, Ordabek Duissen, concertmaster, violin I, of the Fort Worth Symphony, had a personal connection to the war, expressing that he was concerned for his family living in Kazakhstan because he felt if the invasion progresses, his country would be the type of country that would be pursued. It was powerful to see the event come together so quickly with each talented musician and our choir uniting to share their gifts to make an impact.”

Fox 4’s “Good Day” Host Lauren Przybyl served as emcee for the evening.

Opening with an orchestral performance of “The Great Gate of Kiev,” the concert included music selections from Dmitri Shostakovich, Myroslav Skoryk, John Williams, John Rutter, and more. In between pieces were meaningful readings and poetry.

“We are so happy that we were able to host this event for the community and thank our supporters for their incredible generosity,” said Sr. Pastor Arthur Jones, St. Andrew United Methodist Church. “In the United Methodist Church, one of the things we do best is care for people – whether locally or globally – we care deeply about loving our neighbor. We have churches everywhere including in Ukraine and its border countries, and 100 percent of this money will go to relief efforts through the United Methodist Committee on Relief, which is actively working with churches and pastors in Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova.”

Concert sponsors included Ovation Health & Life Services, the LaBroad Family, and the Nancy Seaberry Frost Arts Endowment.

St. Andrew United Methodist Church began in 1986. Worship includes four services each weekend on a 21.2-acre campus at the corner of Plano Parkway and Mira Vista in Plano. More than 2,000 people gather at the church each weekend.

About the author

Mindia Whittier