Bay Area artists come together for benefit concert supporting Ukraine

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Monday, March 14, 2022
Bay Area artists come together for Ukraine benefit concert
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From from jazz to dance, opera and more, a dozen artists took to the stage at The Herbst Theater in San Francisco to raise funds for Ukraine.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Bay Area artists came together in support of Ukraine Sunday at The Herbst Theater in San Francisco.

"I'm helpless, but I'm helping them with art and my heart," said Svetlana Nikitenko, an opera singer doing what she loves in support of her friends and family still in Ukraine. "I don't want to cry because professionals are not crying," she said, holding back tears.

Nikitenko was trained at The Ukrainian National Academy of Music; spending most of her career on Bay Area stages, but never did she think she'd be taking the stage at a fundraiser for her homeland fighting to survive.

"No," she said. "Not for this occasion, I would perform any concert, but that's just crazy. I'm going to cry."

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13 days ago Oksana was a project manager at a local bank in Kyiv. Now, she's dressed in tactical gear fighting and supporting Ukraine's military.

From from jazz to dance, opera and more, a dozen artists took to the stage in front of hundreds in the audience.

"The pieces they present are so beautiful and they really talk about the history of Ukraine and they talk about the Ukrainian composers," said Gosia Wojciechowska, who is from Poland.

"As I sat there and listened to the Ukrainian national anthem and the two gentlemen two rows ahead of me were singing the song in their Ukrainian language it really hit home to me," said San Francisco resident, Rhonda Poppen.

And all the funds raised will go to Bay Area nonprofit Nova Ukraine. The nonprofit has partners on the ground helping get aid to those in need.

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"We're hoping to raise a lot, a lot of money to take care of this," said Caria Tomczykowska, President Polish Arts and Culture Foundation. "It all came together only nine days ago, so it's pretty miraculous that it's taken on a life of its own."

Volunteers like Oxana Olacha stepped up to make it happen. She has cousins and friends fighting on the frontlines.

"I look at the Ukrainian people and I look at their strength and their defiance, said Olacha. "If they can have hope, if they can fight, so can I do whatever I can to support,"

Nikitenko is also asking for people to do what they can to support her homeland. "Whatever we can help here in the U.S., we need to help," she said.

TAKE ACTION: Local and national support for people in Ukraine