'We Stand With Ukraine' benefit concert hopes to provide critical support to Ukrainian refugees

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Musicians from Ukraine and Chicago's Lyric Opera teamed up for a concert Saturday night to help with the relief efforts for refugees.

The "We Stand With Ukraine" concert featured works from some well-known Ukrainian composers.

The money raised at the event is going straight to providing humanitarian relief for children fleeing from Ukraine right now. So far, 31 Ukrainian children have arrived in Chicago and enrolled at St. Nicholas Cathedral School since the onset of the invasion.

The Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra and Ukrainian musicians teamed up in the best way they know how.

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"Music moves, comforts, soothing, warmth, and it transcends all of the evil that we are now seeing," said Orysia Cardoso, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art board chairman.

It's all in an effort to help the youngest of those escaping war in Ukraine.

"They're coming here with nothing. Maybe just one suitcase between two people. Some of the parents have said, like, 'I just threw a bunch of stuff in a suitcase and I forgot about myself,'" said Anna Cirilli, principal at St. Nicholas Cathedral.

"This has to hit each one of us in our hearts. This is not just something we think about, but it has to move us," Cardinal Blase Cupich added.

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Cardinal Cupich and Mayor Lori Lightfoot were in attendance, showing their support.

"Here in Chicago, we have a significant Ukrainian community and it's important I think for all of us to take responsibility to defend democracy and freedom throughout the world," Cardinal Cupich said.

The St. Nicholas Cathedral principal said they're expecting more Ukrainian students in the weeks and months to come.

"I don't know what it's going to be like if I get to a point where I have to start turning people away. That will be really hard," Cirilli said.

The benefit concert, hosted by the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art and the Kyiv Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International, is crucial in providing the much-needed support.
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