Monterey benefit concert for Syria

Benefit Concert for Syria

By Judy Karas, co-chair, WILPF Monterey County Branch

The WILPF US Monterey County Branch joined the Monterey Peace and Justice Center and the Monterey Peninsula Friends Meeting (Quakers) on February 3, 2017, to sponsor “A Musical and Cultural Benefit for Syria,” a benefit concert for Syrian refugees and victims of war. The Syrian American Medical Society Foundation (SAMS) received the evening’s proceeds. SAMS is a nonprofit, nonpolitical, professional medical relief organization representing thousands of Syrian American medical professionals in the United States. The foundation organizes medical missions, provides professional and educational trainings to Syrian physicians, and delivers medicine and medical supplies to hospitals and vulnerable families in Syria. Monterey County Branch members Catherine Crockett, Celeste Akkad, and Judy Karas organized the event.

The benefit was a great success, measured not just by the $7,000 plus raised for SAMS, but also by the goodwill generated, the appreciation shown to the performers, and the support given by local performers, merchants, volunteers, sound technician, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Monterey Peninsula (where the gathering was held). Local physician Dr. Kerala Serio gave a short talk, highlighting the work of SAMS in helping those who have been injured in the ongoing Syrian fighting. Thus, the evening was both entertaining and informative.

Performers included singers and musicians: harpist Amy Krupski, flutist/mandolin player Laura Shaw with guitar accompaniment, jazz flutist Kenny Stahl, Jackson Stock and Friends, storyteller Dina Stansbury, the Ukulele Songbirds, and others. A representative from SAMS was on hand to talk about the humanitarian crisis in Syria. A photo exhibit of the work of Sumaya Agha, who has been documenting the Syrian refugee crisis for Mercy Corps, was on display. And, the UNA-Monterey Bay Chapter had a table in the lobby with information about their Adopt a Future Program. All in all, attendees and performers alike enjoyed and appreciated the event.

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