Averett and Neighboring West Main Baptist Church Co-Host Ukraine Benefit Concert

Posted on March 22nd, 2022 by Cassie Jones

Peace, hope and healing were the theme of a Ukrainian benefit concert in Danville last night.

Averett University teamed up with West Main Baptist Church and musicians Katya Kramer-Lapin and Vyacheslav Gryaznov to co-host the classical piano concert set to raise funds for relief aid in war-torn Ukraine.

Approximately 120 people filled the pews of West Main Baptist, with even more joining the livestreamed event online. The concert raised more than $3,100, all of which will go directly to the Ukrainian Red Cross, helping people on the ground with urgent needs for food, water, shelter, medical care and protection.

“We believe that music is healing…and we want to share that with you all tonight,” said Kramer-Lapin before she and Gryaznov played a selection of classical solo pieces, as well as one duet. The two Russian-born pianists felt a sense of responsibility to stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

“It’s just something I feel like I should do as a musician,” said Gryaznov.

Averett President Dr. Tiffany M. Franks opened the event, followed by West Main Baptist Senior Pastor, Drew Herring.

“As we sing in our Averett Alma Mater, ‘We’ll remember now and ever, our dear blue and gold,’ so shall we remember tonight the blue and gold of the Ukrainian flag and all it represents, and we honor its people and send love and hope their way.”

Herring shared his hope for this event, “Hope that art can be healing and reconciling once again in a way that words rarely are and violence never is…And hope that music can allow us to transcend our fear, our hatred, our rage, to fight for what is right, while also loving all of our sisters and brothers in this world. May it start right here and right now with us tonight.”

Both organizations are involved in additional efforts to support the people of Ukraine.

West Main Baptist is currently partnering with Project Ruth, an initiative of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, as they are host over 42 Ukrainian refugee women and children, feeding and caring for them. Donations can be made in support of this effort through the church.

American National Bank, EBI Furniture and Averett are partnering to collect items like blankets, hygiene products, bandages and kids toys. The University has boxes at various locations around its campuses to collect these goods, and they will be picked up on March 31 for shipping to Ukraine, thanks to EBI Furniture.

This concert is one of four in a back-to-back series to raise money for Ukraine. The duo played in Durham, N.C. the day prior to Danville, then in Greensboro, N.C. Monday and Saxapahaw, N.C. tonight.

To view the full event, click here.