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The City of Ashland supports a benefit concert for new Ukrainian sister city

Ashland–Sviatohirs’k Aid Project (ASAP) – A Benefit Concert for Ukraine 
Benefit Concert Flyer The Ashland City Council unanimously approved a sister city partnership with Sviatohirs’k, Ukraine, at the June 20, 2023, Council meeting. The relationship will support humanitarian aid and fundraising efforts within the Ashland community. The approved partnership authorized Mayor Tonya Graham to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that memorializes the relationship between Sviatohirs’k and Ashland and offers support amidst unimaginable suffering and dire conditions faced by our brothers and sisters of Ukraine.
The new sister city relationship will involve various reciprocal activities in education, the arts and business, such as exchange programs, scholarships, cultural events, language training programs and potential business partnerships – Much like the relationship the City of Ashland has shared with their other sister city, Guanajuato, for over 50 years. However, due to the devastation of Sviatohirs’k by Russian occupation in 2022, the immediate goal will be to aid the new sister city. The Ashland–Sviatohirs’k Aid Project (ASAP) will be vital in this effort.
“The city was 70% destroyed by the Russians,” stated Ben Stott, who has been leading the effort to form the new sister city relationship. “They were occupied for four months. When they (Russians) left, they stole pretty much everything. They cleaned out the hospital. They just wiped out everything and stole it, and so what we’re hoping to do through fundraising and public awareness is to help them rebuild the civic infrastructure so that they can get a working government again so people will start to move back to the city,” Stott said. Graham added that she spoke with the Mayor of Sviatohirsk’s about the destruction of many parts of the Ukrainian city, but the Ukrainian Mayor emphasized there is hope in the future of reciprocating the relationship with Ashland. But right now, resources are needed.

ASAP is pleased to announce a Benefit Concert for Sviatohirsk’s will take place on Saturday, August 19, 2 p.m. at the Ashland High School Theatre on 201 S Mountain Ave. The concert will feature:
  • The Southern Oregon Repertory Singers with Paul French, Conductor – The Southern Oregon Repertory Singers celebrate 34 years of providing the highest quality choral music to the Rogue Valley. Their 60+voice ensemble is comprised of volunteer and paid, semi-professional singers, many of whom are professional performers and/or music educators. Under the direction of Dr. Paul French, the chorus has gained national recognition from some of the most recognized conductors and soloists in the U.S. 
  • Iryna Kudielina, 2022 Winner International Pianist – Iryna Kudielina was born in the Stakhanov, Lugansky region of Ukraine, In September 2019 she won the Erasmus+ Project Competition In June of 2022, Kudielina was awarded the First Prize at the 16th Concurso Internacional de Piano do Alto Minho and the First Prize at the Premio Elisa de Sousa Pedroso in Vila Real, Portugal. Currently, Iryna is a graduate student in Piano at SOU studying under Dr. Alexander Tutunov 
  • Kris Yvon Yenney, M.M. ~ Cellist, Conductor, Composer, Educator – Kris Yvon Yenney has recorded seven critically acclaimed albums and toured throughout the West. She teaches cello and chamber music privately and can be heard on numerous recordings ranging from Classical to Celtic to Jazz.
  • Michael Silversher, Grammy Award Winning Composer – Michael Silversher has been writing songs since 1960, composing hundreds of songs for Disney, Jim Hensen, Warner Bros. Nominated for three Emmy awards with his collaborator, Patty Silversher, they were co-winners of the Grammy award for Soundtrack for Elmo in Grouchland. They currently have two series on TV: Dinosaur Train and Word Party 
  • Ukrainian Children Singers and More 
To learn more about ASAP and ways that you can help, please visit To buy tickets for the August 19 Benefit Concert, go to Tickets are $10 for students under 18 and Seniors over 65; $15 for adults. Please consider making a donation when you purchase tickets. Non-reserved tickets available at Paddington Station, 125 E Main St in Ashland, or at the door.
 “We are better together!” – Information on both sister cities for Ashland can be found at

Released August 1, 2023 

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