Acadiana is our home. A place where our neighbors are family - whether they're actually related or not. And, we are a place that takes care of our family, in good times and bad. It's no secret that we are well-known to parts near and far for this very thing. It's one of the many characteristics that make our area so special.

Well, dear friends and neighbors - dear family. Today, we're asking for your much needed help and support. For nearly twenty years combined, three of ASO's musicians, who hail from Ukraine, have lived, worked, spent their money, and contributed to this community we all call home. And, as any of our neighbors would, we have long considered them family - members of our Symphony family, members of our Acadiana family. These three musicians are in crisis and they need our help - the help of their family - their community. Now.

The families of three of our musicians are caught in the conflict in Ukraine and have made the decision to stay to fight for their land, instead of escaping to a neighboring country. Although our musicians are proud of their families for their strength and their courageous choice to defend their home, they are terrified for their safety.

Additionally, several of the families of the ASO musical family are volunteering on the front lines, at the Ukrainian and Polish border, to provide shelter, food and humanitarian aid to both those that have chosen to stay, as well as those that have sought shelter from neighboring Poland. As such, ASO Music Director and Conductor, Maestro Mariusz Smolij, along with our musical family from Ukraine, have used their resources to find ways that our organization and our community can help their families.

At ASO, it's our mission to inspire culture through music - to bolster our cultural economy and uphold unparalleled civic value through the power and joy of music; by providing excellence in orchestral performances of diverse repertoire, and educational experiences that inspire and enrich our future generations. As a family of musicians living here in Acadiana, whether it's playing Beethoven's 5th, helping our neighbors after a hurricane and 500-year flood here at home, or even helping our international neighbors caught in a conflict not of their choosing - it is these tenets, by which we live by daily at ASO, that compel us to help our family.

Now we're turning to you, our community, to ask for your help and support during this time of crisis for our musicians.

We've created a donation page on our website, through which you can donate to assist the Ukrainian people. All proceeds received will be directly given to the Ukrainian National House and to the Lviv Volunteer Kitchen. Ukrainian National House is a nonprofit organization located on the border of Ukraine, in Przemyƛl, Poland, which is dedicated to helping the tens of thousands of women and children crossing the border every day. Lviv Volunteer Kitchen is an on-the-ground hub that helps to distribute meals and other humanitarian aid to those still in Ukraine.

Maestro Smolij is personally familiar with both of these organizations, and has vetted them extensively. ASO has chosen to act as a fundraising conduit, instead of directing you to these the organizations, for a few reasons. First, the websites are written in Ukrainian, and we want to make it as easy as possible for our local community to give. Additionally, Lviv Volunteer Kitchen has no specific way for you to give directly. And lastly, we want to support trusted, on-the-ground organizations, in order to ensure that every penny raised goes directly to the people who need it the most, and we think Ukrainian National House and Lviv Volunteer Kitchen are best positioned to mobilize resources and expedite support to the Ukrainian people.

100% of the proceeds raised will be used to provide basic necessities like food, clothing, toiletries, bedding, cots, baby formula, and diapers, along with meals, medical necessities, and other humanitarian aid to Ukrainians who remain in the country, as well as those refugees who have fled.

Although this is an on-going crisis, due to the volatile and ever-developing current situation in Ukraine, your generosity is needed NOW. Please join us in showing support for the people of Ukraine, AND ASO's Ukrainian musicians, whom we call family. Please donate today.

We will continue to provide updates as we learn new information.

Never underestimate the fortitude of the human spirit in the face of the fiercest adversity. Thank you, in advance, for being who you are, Acadiana. Thank you for helping our family.