A benefit concert to raise funds for displaced Ukrainian families moving to Prince Rupert is being hosted by Rupert Society for Refugee Support at the Lester Center on May 14. (Image: supplied)

Benefit concert to aid refugees relocating to Prince Rupert

Rupert Society for Refugee Support calls community for assistance

Local dancers, musicians, and DJs will be taking center stage at the Lester Center in a night of entertainment on May 13 to assist Ukrainian refugee families coming to Prince Rupert.

The benefit concert is being hosted by the Rupert Society of Refugee Support (RSRS), which has been working over the past several weeks to secure housing, employment, and schooling, for families needing safe haven from the war in Ukraine.

“The two-hour benefit concert will feature music and dance by youth and adults. After a brief intermission, the second portion of the evening will start with local DJs as part of the Valhalla Fest RoadShow hitting their turntables,” John Farrell, event organizer said.

The $50,000 fundraising goal will be used for airfares, food, and other expenses until the new Rupertites can become self-sufficient. Ray Pederson, event organizer, said four families are already on their way, with more to come.

The first family to arrive is a multi-generational group, and if everything goes according to plan, they will arrive before the concert, Pederson said.

A special attraction to the evening line-up will be a DJ who will join the concert live from Ukraine and who has been vital in assisting RSRS with some of the families scheduled to arrive.

Audiences can expect to see dancers from the Wii Gisigwilgwelk, Dance Academy, Spectrum Dance and the North Coast Indo-Canadian Dancers. Music acts such as the Charles Hays Jazz band, Ring System Student, Ian Lihou, Nick Adey, Gord Olsen, Ray Leonard, Francis Riley, Cynthia Pyde, Natalie Charlton, Lonnie & Aja, will play, followed by DJ Keethoven and DJ Muldoe.

In addition to the performances on the stage, there will be a loonie auction in the lobby where tickets for items can be purchased for a dollar. A bidder places as many tickets as they want into a box for the specific item they desire. The one ticket pulled from the box claims the auction prize.

Unlike silent auction bidders who have to keep checking their status, the loonie auction allows bidding at the beginning of the evening so participants can enjoy the show. Winners do not need to be present to win. Organizers said winners will be notified and items will be available for pick up at Community Futures on 3rd Ave.

RSRS is encouraging donations of auction items to support local businesses. Services and products provided do not have to be from the business gifting them. Anyone who would like to participate in offering auction items can contact 250 600 6553. For general donations to support the concert and the new families arriving in town, e-transfers can be made to RSRSFinance1@gmail.com.

K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist 
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