Our Home to Artsakh – Virtual Concert Fundraiser, March 25

On September 27, 2020, Armenians in Artsakh were attacked by Azerbaijani military forces. With the support of Turkey which provided weaponry and mercenary soldiers, Azerbaijan ignored international appeals to stop the aggression and to conduct peaceful negotiations. After Azerbaijan violated multiple ceasefire agreements, on November 9, 2020, Russia forced the parties to agree to a cease fire, thus putting an end to current hostilities.

This most recent war has left a devastating impact in its wake and caused the deaths of innocent men, women and children. Families have been displaced, homes have been destroyed and thousands of volunteer soldiers were killed defending their families and homes. As a result, countless refugees have fled to Armenia proper which is now struggling to provide food, shelter, and medical supplies. Winters are brutally cold throughout Armenia and Artsakh. The need for humanitarian aid has been immediate.

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His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia has designated 2021 as the Year of Artsakh. St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Churchof Dearborn, Michigan is answering the call by organizing a fundraising effort, called Our Home to Artsakh. The effort features a virtual concert with some of Michigan’s finest musical artists to raise funds for our brothers and sisters. This virtual concert will air on March 25, 2021 starting at 7:00pm, EST. You can watch this via Facebook LIVE or YouTube LIVE

St. Sarkis Church has identified 100 families in need and most affected by the war, to whom gift cards for the local grocery stores will be directly delivered. A tax-deductible $100 donation can feed an entire family for a month.

In a current pandemic environment where musicians are unable to show their talents to live audiences, many adjusted to performing online. St. Sarkis has assembled a group of extremely talent artists from Michigan who have offered their talents by providing music videos that will be combined together and aired on March 25th.

Dave Bennett is a clarinet virtuoso who plays electric guitar, piano, drums, AND vocalizes. Saluting Swing to Rock: covering music from the Swing Era to early Rockabilly and Country, to Elvis Presley and more. Leading His Tribute to Benny Goodman, Dave has been a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall with The New York Pops (2013) and has played the show with 35 other US and Canadian orchestras including Nashville, Detroit, Rochester, Omaha, Toronto, Vancouver, Orlando, San Antonio, Jacksonville, Portland, OR and Portland, ME, and Houston. Fifty performing arts centers across the USA have had success with his presentations. Dave is joined by his Pastor, Tom Hampton on guitar in his video.

Ben Sharkey has enjoyed an extraordinary dual career over the past ten years. Since the charismatic vocalist posted his first raw home videos of himself singing Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra classics to YouTube in 2007, he has amassed over 5 million views worldwide for over 70 clips – including the professionally shot, James Bond themed original “What You’ve Given” (over 150,000 views alone!) The Michigan native has also become one of the Motor City’s premiere live entertainers, with hundreds of performances at jazz hotspots like Cliff Bell’s and a five year and counting residency at the Axis Lounge at the MGM Grand Detroit.

Xiao Dong Wei began studying the erhu (the Chinese two-stringed violin) with her father. At age 11, she was accepted into the prestigious Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Ten years later, she earned her degree becoming a ‘Master of the Erhu’. In 2005, Xiao Dong broke ground by forming an alternative chamber music trio comprised of a bluegrass guitarist, a mandolin player, and Xiao Dong on erhu. Xiao Dong has been featured on National Public Radio (NPR) and as a guest soloist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Her music continues to cross international borders by being heard on radio stations throughout the United States, Australia, and Europe. Xiao will be joined by Yuki Mack on piano.

Joshua Davis has honed an impressive range of skills over the last twenty years – songwriter, bandleader, guitarist, and vocalist among them – in the most honest possible fashion: night after night, song after song, show after show Davis simply delivered every performance as though his life depended on it. Investing himself in the American musical diaspora, he has explored the common thread connecting folk, blues, jazz, ragtime, and country forms – discovering his personal perspective as a composer in the process. Since his appearance as a finalist on Season 8 of NBC’s “The Voice”, Davis has been churning out an album a year and has plans to continue to do so. His sensibilities shine brightest on his latest trio of solo releases, each a thoughtful dispatch on life, love, change, and growth.

CutTime Simfonica® was launched in 2010 by bassist-composer Rick Robinson during a 22-year tenure in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. It complements his first outreach ensemble, the mixed octet CutTime Players, which had been a huge hit since 1994. Both groups bring famous, select symphonic works where orchestras can’t fit, at first to churches, schools and music festivals. CutTime Simfonica, however, also brings Robinson’s funky-romantic compositions that show how classical can be presented as an educational entertainment in restaurants, bars, clubs, cafes, homes, even offices. Sometimes this ensemble adds a second viola and a cello for a rich texture; but tonight’s setup is most typical. Robinson resigned his DSO position in 2012 to develop his ideas for broadening classical music audiences with musicians across the country, seeding the next generation for a resilient casual classical attitude. He won both a Kresge Fellowship for composition in 2010, and a Knight Foundation grant in 2013 to develop a pop-up series called Classical Revolution Detroit.

The next two musical groups comes to us courtesy of Great Lakes Performing Artist Associates, Its mission is to encourage the cultural and artistic development of the Great Lakes region by supporting the performance careers of exceptional regional artists.

Djangophonique is a musical project born out of reverence for the Parisian Jazz Manouche style that was made popular by the legendary Sinti guitarist Django Reinhardt and his Quintette du Hot Club de France. While remaining steeped in the rich and virtuosic tradition, the group brings this music into the present with stunning improv, spontaneity and musical interaction. Hot swing, lush ballads, musette waltzes, jazz standards, boleros, and moody minor pieces are all fused together with theatrical flair and musical humor.

Westbound Situation blends the precision of classical chamber music, the rhythmic drive of bluegrass, and the colorful expression of jazz into a new style of chamber music—chambergrass. The quartet—comprised of Grant Flick on violin, Matt Davis on banjo, Zach Brown on cello, and Jacob Warren on bass—mixes composition and improvisation seamlessly into their entirely memorized arrangements.

Corporate funds are being solicitated from a variety of sources within the Armenian and non-Armenian community in order to match donations made the evening of the fundraiser.

Please help us so that we can help the innocent Armenians of Artsakh through these difficult times. Share this story, watch the concert and if you can – please CLICK HERE to this worthwhile effort.

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