Feeding Ukraine: Musicians rally for benefit concert this weekend at opera house

STONINGTON — Guitarist Frank Gotwals, poet and musician Stuart Kestenbaum, the folk trio Birds on a Wire, bassist Christopher Kapsha and Jazz Beyond Borders are among the artists who will be performing at the “Peace Call for Ukraine” benefit concert starting at 7 p.m. Friday, April 29, at Stonington Opera House.

Local furniture maker Geoffrey Warner teamed up with Opera House Arts to stage the concert. Admission is a suggested donation of $10 per person at the door. All proceeds will benefit World Central Kitchen, which provides fresh meals to communities in need.

“It wasn’t hard to line up some very talented performers to create a very special evening,” Warner said. “I think we all feel a need to do something to help the Ukraine refugees. As one person I could help a little, but by coming together we can do a lot. Because music pulls the heartstrings, I couldn’t think of a better way to raise money to help others and create a synergistic energy for peace and hope than to inspire a benefit concert. I chose World Central Kitchen as the beneficiary because food relief is not just a meal that keeps hunger away. It’s a plate of hope. It tells you in your darkest hour that someone, somewhere, cares about you.”

Founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen provides freshly made, nutritious meals to survivors of disasters quickly and effectively. Good food provides not only nourishment, but also comfort and hope, especially in times of crisis. The organization is first to the frontlines, providing meals in response to humanitarian, climate and community crises while working to build resilient food systems with locally led solutions. To learn more and donate, visit

Within days of the initial Russian invasion of Ukraine, World Central Kitchen began serving hot, nourishing meals to families traveling long distances and waiting for hours at various border crossings in Poland and then in Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Slovakia. Currently they are providing fresh food and hot meals to recently liberated Ukrainian cities. Follow their efforts on social media: #ChefsForUkraine.

At the April 29 concert, proof of vaccination will be required. For more information, call 367-2788 and visit

A nonprofit organization, Opera House Arts was founded in 1999 to restore the 1912 Stonington Opera House. The theater is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was restored and resumed its original role as a performance venue and a community gathering space. Opera House Arts offers a year-round schedule of professional theater, music, film, dance, educational programs, community events and more. Performances take place in multiple venues, including the Opera House, the restored Burnt Cove Church Community Center and at site-specific locations across Deer Isle and Stonington.



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