Student Council Hosts Benefit Concert for Ukraine Aid

Sandro Mocciolo '23, Staff Writer

On Friday, March 25, the Loomis Chaffee Student Council hosted its annual Benefit Concert, drawing crowds of students to fill the seats of the Hubbard Performance Hall.
Performances ranged from dance routines and jazz piano to vocal covers and an original song on the ukulele. Performers and viewers alike were united under the cause for which the concert was organized: humanitarian and defensive aid for Ukraine as it endures a devastating war.
In the days leading up to the concert, Student Council raised more than $4,500 for the Ukrainian charity Come Back Alive, after a switch between charities during Spring Break. Prior to news of the Russian invasion, the Student Council had voted to support the global charity Pencils of Promise this year.
“Pencils of Promise is a global charity that works to provide education access and hygienic support to children in underprivileged communities and countries,” said Student Council Representative Kirsten Lees ’23. In the Council, this year’s Benefit Concert planning task group was led by Kirsten and representatives Lauren Sonnenfeld ’24 and Anthony Luo ’23.
“[Pencils of Promise] is a really great charity; however, due to the current circumstances with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we felt that in this urgent time of need it was very important for us to not only support our Ukrainian students at Loomis but support those that are in need across the sea,” said Kirsten.
The Student Council conducted a second vote which changed this year’s charity to Come Back Alive and, from there, the task group began raising money in the weeks leading up to the concert.
“We campaigned during lunch…which was difficult to schedule but ultimately paid off,” said Anthony Luo ’23.
During the concert, Kate Shymkiv ’22, a Ukrainian student at LC, choreographed and performed a dance routine entitled homesick as well as delivered a message to the audience on behalf of Loomis Chaffee’s Ukrainian community.
“I actually changed my song and dance at the last minute because I couldn’t perform an upbeat piece with everything going on back home,” said Kate. “In a way, it was a tribute to the Ukrainians all over the world who are screaming on behalf of the people within Ukraine. This dance was my own plea toward action.”
Kate touched on many ideas in her verbal message that night, including the need for continued action. “We [the Ukrainian students] wanted to encourage people to continue supporting us even after the concert. The war doesn’t end overnight. The Benefit Concert was a big hit but it’s only the first step our community is taking.”
“It is crucial to identify the situation in Ukraine as a war, not a crisis or a military operation. There is no neutrality in this situation,” said Kate.
Aside from the substantial charitable funds raised and the inspiring cause, the Benefit Concert saw enormous success in its performances themselves. Musical styles included pop, jazz, classical, R&B, and rap, with many students composing and choreographing their own performances. The concert was a testament to the artistic talent within the performing arts department and the greater LC community.
“We’d been planning this for so long, and seeing all the performances and the tech come together was really an exciting experience,” said Anthony.