Concert for Ukraine, held on Wednesday night in Perth Concert Hall, received incredible support with the total so far raised sitting at more than £23,500.
It was a chance for Perthshire to open its collective heart to the plight of many millions of people forced to either remain and fight or flee from a catastrophic invasion of their innocent, independent homeland.
Horsecross Arts enabled a musical and poetic show which attracted stars of the Scottish trad scene to sing out for real folk suffering really hard times.
Eddi Reader, Karen Matheson, Dougie MacLean and Phil Cunningham were among the big names to perform for free.
The event was organized by Perthshire poet Jim Mackintosh – who admitted never having arranged such a complex performance. Hosts for the spectacular gathering were Mary Anne Kennedy and Gary Innes.
The concert began with the uplifting pipes of Perthshire’s home-grown piping star Ross Ainslie, moving into a tune by Blazin’ Fiddles.
Each act got to perform just one song or spoken word piece, so there were no egos, just a big gift of solidarity for the people of Ukraine.
Audience members reported an “uplifting” and “emotive” evening with the choices of material from each performer being very “thoughtful” of the humanitarian cause, each delivered with a note of seriousness while also providing quality entertainment.
Each act was interspersed with specially recorded video messages from people previously involved with the arts scene in Ukraine – now scattered across Europe or appearing wearing military fatigues. Even the Ukrainian Culture Minister spoke for the crowds attending the concert in Perth.
Near the end, Perthshire Amber man, Dougie MacLean, sang his tune ‘This Love Will Carry’ before all the performers amassed on the stage.
Then the audience spontaneously stood for the Ukrainian national anthem which was sung by a lone female Ukrainian singer, Oksana Mavrodii.
In what appeared to be an unplanned happening, after the cheering and applause for the special national song died down, the entire concert hall audience went totally silent for about 10 seconds, before a man in the stalls broke the spell, shouting out the rallying cry of “Slava Ukraini!” (Glory to Ukraine).
The Vale of Atholl Pipe Band provided a satisfying accompaniment to Steve Byrne with a rendition of “Freedom cam all ye” for the close of the night.
Horsecross Arts revealed the concert’s fundraising total to the PA yesterday: “We can share that following the concert last night, the total stands at £23,559. We’re leaving the fund open until Friday, April 29 for any further contributions.”
All money is going to the Ukraine Appeal managed by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).
The shortened link for the Horsecross Arts Ukraine fund is https://bit.ly/3vbtotb
All across Perthshire, the plight of Ukraine’s displaced and traumatized nationals has been warmly embraced.
Over 250 tons of aid donations have been sent in lorries from Errol organized by TASHforUkraine to help refugees.
In the Aberfeldy, Pitlochry and Crieff area, around 60 hosts are in the process of sponsoring refugee families to come and live in their homes.
And Loch Tay -based events organizer David Fox-Pitt MBE and his team – supported by Siobhan’s Trust – is serving around 3000 hot meals a day on the Polish/Ukraine border since setting out with a mobile pizza oven and tents within the first days of the crisis.