Music by musicians who were refugees in their time will be used to benefit refugees arriving in the Northwest this year.A Pullman church is planning a concert to raise money for the refugee resettlement program of World Relief Spokane. Working with local churches, the organization helps refugees settle in Spokane by providing them with basic necessities for the first three months, locating housing and assisting them with applying for public services, employment, public schooling and English classes.
“It’s a great thing to do with music,” said Diane Worthey a member of the Community Congregational United Church of Christ where the concert will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18.
The church’s congregation has a large number of professional musicians. They wanted to do a social justice-themed concert and chose the Spokane program as a beneficiary because it offered practical help to people arriving in Spokane monthly, Worthey said. She said 75 new refugees are expected to arrive in the Spokane area this fall. They are among 600 relocating in 2016. Tickets are $25 and every dollar will be matched 2 to 1 by a federal grant, she said.
Refugees are people who leave their homeland because of persecution of beliefs, ethnicity or race. They spend an average of five years in a refugee camp until a country grants them permission to enter, according to the World Relief Spokane’s website. Usually they arrive with nothing but a suitcase or backpack.
Speakers from the organization will briefly highlight a refugee’s experience before the concert and explain the resettlement program. Come Nzibarega, a refugee from Burundi, Africa, will talk about his experiences.
While there will be music by some composers who were refugees in their time, other selections will focus on hardship and oppression. Two concert highlights include a 14-piece string orchestra performing Béla Bartók’s “Romanian Folk Dances” and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise” sung by mezzo-soprano Anjuli Dodhia.
Refreshments with an ethnic flair will be served after the concert, said Worthey, who teaches for the University of Idaho Preparatory String Program and will perform as a violinist in the concert.
If You Go
What: Benefit concert to support area refugees
When: 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18
Where: Community Congregational United Church of Christ, 525 N.E. Campus St., Pullman
Of Note: This is a fundraiser for the refugee resettlement program of World Relief Spokane. Every dollar of ticket sales will be matched 2 to 1 by a federal grant. Tickets are available at the door and in advance at Neill’s Flowers and Gifts in Pullman and BookPeople of Moscow.