top of page
  • Writer's picturerhapsodydmb


Updated: Apr 20

Sky blue and wheat yellow, colors of the Ukrainian flag.

Rutger's professor Roxane Gay wrote a provocative article in the Sunday New York Times April 14, "What is an Open Letter For?" (Sorry if you like I, encounter that frustrating paywall to prevent access, even when I purchase a Sunday Times every weekend of my life!) Gay intimates that the open letter is little better than contemplating one's belly button, yet she comes up with no particular suggested actions to take.

I am apparently in good company when I think that writing open letters, poetry, focused letters to politicians, and other written publications ARE actions. Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said in his essay on poets: "Words are also actions, and actions are a kind of words." Still, Gay's point made me uneasy because I know there is more to be done than bbserve, praise, or blame.

Words come easy to a lawyer or poet or anyone like me who becomes a bit lazy in carrying my best intentions further than just in words. It's sometimes difficult to locate other actions to take that are realistic for magnificent or for modest budgets. It's tough to find proven-effective groups to support who share our commitments to basic values of peace, decency, and inclusion. Sadly, those values seem at best to be slipping away and at worst, roundly trashed and actively disappearing in this country and others, as a number of people rush to embrace the fallacy of a beneficial autocracy or attempt to justify genocide.

Without further ado, below is the beginning of my list of some action opportunities that are related to music. (I would appreciate your help to add more over time; please email me at If I don't know the group personally, I have attempted to curate it as much as time and my ability permit, but commend them all for your consideration of a possible financial donation or other method to support their stated missions.

Many thanks to Anna Shelest, a sparkling and fabulous Ukrainian concert pianist (and sister feminist) for helping me add to this list. In addition, not long ago she was gracious enough to recognize my deep love of music and effort to encourage others to take up learning to play an instrument no matter their age, and she wrote an encouraging comment for the back of Volume II of my poetry book. Perhaps you would consider supporting Anna's career (1) by urging your local symphony to host her concert of Ukrainian music or music by women composers and/or (2) by purchasing her music.

  1. San Francisco - Groupmuse (donate here to this 501(c)(3) Foundation) "is a worker- and musician-owned cooperative seeking to uplift artists and strengthen broader community bonds through live, intimate performances of historically-rooted music." HOST A MUSICIAN IN YOUR HOME! Choose among classical musicians and since 2022, from a wider variety of musicians and historical genres and cultures such as Colombian bandola guitarist Alejo Cordero and Brazilian Kenya Moses's bossa nova vocal specialty. Performances in small venues like homes, typically include the musician's discussion of the history of composition or composer. They provide an unusual "up close and personal" quality experience with the music and musician in a friendly and informal social environment. Groupmuse invites new hosts to volunteer to promote these opportunities in our residences, cafes, churches, small clubs, and soon in cooperation with the City arts intiatives, in my own neighborhood's local public library branch. Groupmuse also partners with other musical groups and provides valuable discounts to other events that prior Groupmuse guests wish to attend (not long ago we paid only $15 a ticket to hear the wonderful SF Philharmonic perform).

  2. Razom Relief (donate here to this 501(c)(3) group) is responding to the war in Ukraine by distributing seeds, trees, and fertilizers in Kharkiv, Kherson, Donetsk, and Sumy to empower self-sufficiency of these communities. "Razom, which means “together” in Ukrainian, is dedicated to upholding the principles of the Revolution of Dignity (Maidan) and actively contributing to the establishment of a secure, prosperous, and democratic Ukraine. We achieve this by creating, inspiring, and collaborating on initiatives that motivate people to think, partner and do." $10 will provide one family in the front lines a hygiene kit, or $1000 will buy an individual field medic backpack or 1 Motorola DP4800 VHF Radio. Razom also features an advocacy-oriented program. This group was founded by women.

  3. YOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA OF UKRAINE (directly donate via a bank transfer) is a unique youth orchestra that unites young musicians aged 12-22 from all over Ukraine, who radiate passionate energy for development, love for music and the desire to move forward. The founder and artistic director of the ensemble is the internationally known Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv. (Why not this enthusiastic Maestra for new music director for the SF Symphony?)

  4. WRITE IN SUPPORT OF A FEMALE MUSICAL DIRECTOR IN SAN FRANCISCO (OR YOUR CITY): Please direct it to Ms Priscilla B. Geeslin, President, San Francisco Symphony, 201 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102, with copy to CEO Matthew Spivey. Sample letter here.

I have reached out to connect with and learn more about progress and results from Kelsie Kimberlin, a young Ukranian-American musician who not long ago visited Ukraine and has written three popular songs about the newest monster in human history, "Vlad", which can only refer to one person on earth she says. She recently started a foundation to help Ukraine. Her foundation solicits donations to fund medical care, rehab of war victims, food, and support for Ukranians and Ukrainian musicians.

In conclusion and to thank blog visitors for your anticipated action to support music and peace, please enjoy this gorgeously passionate, romantic, heart-wrenching, and chilling piece "Melody" by Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk. The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is led by Lithuanian conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla who was musical director of the CBSO from 2016 to 2019. (Why not this enthusiastic Maestra for new music director for the SF Symphony?) Please also enjoy this gorgeous violin interpretation with the Amsterdam Symphony by Diana Tishchenko.


(If you resonate with this blog, kindly sign our confidential email list above.)


69 views2 comments


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Apr 18
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you for this important post!

Apr 18
Replying to

The you for your visit and support! It means a lot. In music love, Ann

bottom of page