On Saturday evening, April 23, 2022, Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU) presented "For Ukraine," an Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADA) International Benefit Concert in Arlington, Texas. The performance was held at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts. About 80 student musicians from SWAU's University Singers, SWAU's Donne Cantanti, the Southwestern Chamber Orchestra, and the Chisholm Trail Academy Honors Choir united for the purpose of using their talents to raise funds to help those suffering in Ukraine. Several hundred people attended this unprecedented performance.
Five weeks ago, Jonathan E. L. Wall, director of SWAU's University Singers and Donne Cantanti, reached out to ADRA to inquire about a partnership. "The Concert was a way to raise awareness for people to see and hear more about what ADRA is doing and to be inspired to help through the musical journey of darkness into light presented by the choirs and orchestra. It was a concert sharing hope to those in desperate need, and it ended with our newest commissioned piece, 'God is Our Hope and Strength," he explained. This theme of hope inspired every musician to perform to the best of their ability as the audience felt their compassion through each piece, especially "Sche ne vmerla Ukrainy," Ukraine's National Anthem, translated, "Ukraine's Glory Hasn't Perished." SWAU President Ana Patterson said, "Knowledge, faith, and service is our tagline at Southwestern Adventist University. As an institution, we welcome opportunities to engage in service. One of those opportunities came through this wonderful concert which benefitted ADA's humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. We were honored to be part of this altruistic initiative and proud of our students, faculty, and staff who shared their valuable time and talents to help others.
Between musical features aired three powerful videos showing the grateful faces and people of Ukraine receiving food, being given places to stay, and accepting lifesaving supplies from ADRA workers as they labor day and night within the country and surrounding areas. Michael Kruger, President of ADRA International, sent his sincere thanks to everyone from Turkey by video, where he is currently meeting with ADRA country directors as they review their humanitarian strategy for ongoing operations for Ukraine.
"We are grateful to each of you for coming out tonight to support this historic humanitarian cause. I regret I could not be in attendance," said Michael Kruger. "As the Global humanitarian Agency of the Adventist Church, ADRA reaffirms its commitment to serve, protect, and stand for the people of Ukraine and all communities impacted by this unending crisis. I want to personally thank each singer and musician performing tonight for giving your time and talents. We appreciate the generosity and applaud you for putting your passion to purpose to support ADRA International's humanitarian relief operations in Ukraine. We can't thank you enough for trusting ADRA to bring love and compassion to the people of Ukraine. Please continue to pray for the millions of victims impacted by this monumental crisis and for the safety of thousands of ADRA workers and volunteers leading this crucial mission. Southwestern University, our sincerest gratitude once again for your generous partnership. We are, and will forever, remain grateful."
According to ADRA, the demand for humanitarian aid has escalated because of the ongoing hostilities. The United Nations reports more than 4.7 million refugees have fled Ukraine and crossed into neighboring countries, and many more have been forced to relocate inside the country. For those unable to attend "For Ukraine." donations for this cause are being accepted at https://donations.adra.org/SWAUforUkraine.SWAU and ADA are most grateful for your support and partnership.
Southwestern Adventist University has been offering Christ-centered education by inspiring knowledge, faith, and service in Keene, Texas, since 1893. U.S. News and World Report ranks the University No. 11 overall in its 2021 Regional Colleges West rankings and No. 2 for Social Mobility. Niche ranks SWAU as one of Texas' safest colleges. SWAU offers a uniquely diverse and personal college experience. For information, call 800-433-2240 or visit swau.edu.