Youth Chamber Initiative Spreads Awareness on Ukraine Through Community Concert

Alana Chiang ’24 and Lindsey Lee ’25 recieved a grant from the Lincoln Center Chamber Society which funded their initiative to raise awareness for the war in Ukraine.

The Youth Chamber Initiative – composed of violist Lindsey Lee ’25 and pianist Alana Chiang ’24 – hosted its first community concert on Wednesday in hopes to spread awareness of the war in Ukraine. Held in the Cochran Chapel, the concert aimed to feature the works of Ukrainian and underrepresented composers.

“We thought that it was an issue that impacts and has been impacting everyone globally, so there were a lot of people who were able to relate to the cause. Also, we thought that we haven’t seen that many youth organizations, especially on campus, spreading awareness about this conflict, so we thought it would be appropriate to do a concert on it,” said Lee.

As winners of the Lincoln Center Chamber Society Young Musician Innovation Challenge, Chiang and Lee received a 1,000 dollar grant to launch their initiative at Andover.

“We’ve been working on planning this concert for months now. There were many challenges, especially with scheduling because we had mentors at the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society and also at Andover. The back-and-forth and making sure our concert was ready required a lot of time and preparation… We planned the program, venue, catering, [and] pieces. Getting the performers together and coordinating the schedule was a lot of work,” said Lee.

Holly Barnes, Instructor in Music, and Jessica McCormack, Music Department Coordinator, assisted Lee and Chiang in the concert planning process.

“I wish we had done a rehearsal of the performance before, but we didn’t have the opportunity to reserve the chapel space for that. It’s really hard to get those permissions. Me and Lindsey went through the entire programming for the night, but we didn’t actually get to do it in the space, so during the concert itself, the rearranging of the chairs and stands were a bit hectic,” said Chiang.

In addition to Ukrainian works by Mykola Lysenko and Boris Lyatoshinsky, the concert included works by Jennifer Higdon and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. While developing the concert program, Lee and Chiang aimed to tell a story.

“Even [the ‘Ave Verum Corpus’] was well-incorporated into the story that [our] program was telling because it’s commonly used as funeral music, and we wanted to tie our program together by sharing our condolences for those who have suffered greatly due to the conflict in Ukraine. Every piece we chose was very purposeful,” said Lee.

Chiang shared a similar sentiment to Lee, describing the goal to convey her personal thoughts on the Ukraine-Russia conflict through the concert program. The two look to address other issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in future concerts.

“We are hoping to continue this initiative in the fall and hopefully even longer than that. We want to collaborate with the Classical Music Club and Music Department again and put on a concert for a different social justice cause. The one that we have thought about a lot recently was the AAPI community and how the coronavirus brought about a lot of hate to that specific community. We were thinking that we could put on a concert in awareness of that hate, featuring works by Asian composers, played by Asian students,” said Chiang.