Vermont artists, restaurants and breweries spring into action for Ukraine

The Green Mountain Mahler Festival has a long history of arranging benefit performances, so a concert to help those affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine seemed a natural.

The nonprofit classical-music organization will hold a concert Saturday, March 19 to raise money for the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America. The association was created in 1951 to provide education, but in this case will be “applying its resources to save the lives of soldiers, militia and refugees,” according to the organization’s president, Leo Wolansky. “We work with a host of charities with different areas of expertise as well as collect medical supplies for shipment.”

Donations from the concert will be matched up to $10,000. “We’re trying to focus on music that celebrates Ukraine and hopefully will bring in a lot of people to donate money,” said Dan Weiss, the festival’s president.

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The concert, co-sponsored by the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association, is part of a growing list of plans by Vermont artists, restaurants and breweries to do what they can to help the besieged nation. The Green Mountain Mahler Festival is putting its event together quickly; some of the compositions are music the instrumentalists have played before, while others will be learned at rehearsal the day of the concert, according to Weiss.

Musicians with the Green Mountain Mahler Festival
Musicians with the Green Mountain Mahler Festival

“It’s the only logistical way to make this happen,” he said. “This is the type of situation where people rise to the occasion.”

Weiss said the festival has previously raised money for causes including Haitian earthquake relief and the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, now known as the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants in Vermont.

- 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19, an evening of Ukrainian and Ukrainian-inspired choral and orchestral music to benefit Ukraine relief, Green Mountain Mahler Festival, Elley-Long Music Center, Colchester. Admission by donation; donations may also be made online at

Other plans calling attention to the emergency in Ukraine include:

- Folk-punk band Gogol Bordello is hosting a sold-out concert Thursday, March 10 at City Winery in New York to benefit Come Back Alive, an organization benefiting Ukrainian armed forces. Gogol Bordello’s front man, Eugene Hutz, moved from Ukraine with his family before relocating in Burlington. The concert will also feature Patti Smith, Suzanne Vega, Jesse Malin, Stephin Merritt, Craig Finn, Lady Lamb and Matisyahu. A livestream is available for $20.

- Honey Road in Burlington is among restaurants that have been raising money for World Central Kitchen. The nonprofit organization founded by chef Jose Andres provides meals in instances of international crisis.

- A restaurant in the Northeast Kingdom, Blackbird Bistro, announced this week a fundraiser with a title that starts with an obscenity followed by the last name of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. (Hint: The name of the fundraiser rhymes with “Duck Shootin’.”) For every $15 order of poutine —the French pronunciation of “Putin” sounds like the name of the French-fries-and-cheese-curds dish — the Craftsbury restaurant will donate $4 to UNICEF’s efforts in Ukraine. For every shot of the titular drink, Blackbird Bistro will donate $5.

- The Beverage Warehouse of Vermont asked March 5 on Facebook, “Who in Vermont is going to create a beer in a can reflecting the proud Ukrainian colors so we can raise more $$ for this effort?” (The Winooski business already donated sales of Russian vodka to humanitarian relief in Ukraine.) The question on social media has already generated interest from Vermont brewers including Mike Drake of 1st Republic Brewing in Essex Junction, Terry Thompson of Mill River Brewing in St. Albans and Jesse Cronin of Lucy & Howe Brewing in Jericho. Drake wrote that 1st Republic “is in and we’re figuring out the details, we love the idea.”

Contact Brent Hallenbeck at Follow Brent on Twitter at

This article originally appeared on Burlington Free Press: Ukraine relief efforts aided by Vermont artists, restaurants, breweries