The Mira Piano Quartet

ALTON - The Mira Piano Quartet, a group of talented area musicians, had their minds on the people of Ukraine this holiday season. After some deep reflection, the four decided to have a benefit concert during the holidays with proceeds to benefit a relief effort in Ukraine. The concert is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Jacoby Arts Center’s East Gallery/Event Space.

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There is also a Brown Bag event that will feature the quartet presented by the Lewis and Clark Community College Music Department at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, in the Ringhausen Music Building.

The quartet consists of four renowned area musicians - Vera Parkin, on piano, Sister Marie-Therese Swiezynski on violin, Christine Banks on viola, and Justine Liu Aldridge on cello and piano. Specifically, the proceeds from the Sunday concert will go toward the purchase of a new ambulance to be used in Ukraine. Hospitals, ambulances, and other healthcare facilities in Ukraine have been attacked during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Christopher Manson, vice president of government relations in the OSF Healthcare system.

“Vera Parkin formerly played piano with the St. Louis Symphony,” Sister Marie-Therese said. “The rest of us are faculty members at Lewis and Clark. Christopher Manson, vice president of government relations in the OSF Healthcare system, pointed out that several of the ambulances have been targeted by Russian soldiers as well as hospitals. He is also leading the fundraiser.”

Concert funds raised go directly toward the purchase of an ambulance for the war relief efforts in Ukraine, Sister Marie-Therese said.

Manson's involvement began with a news program showing the devastation occurring in Ukraine and his 7-year-old daughter wanted to know more and asked what was happening, and why. She also asked her dad what could be done to help those in Ukraine.

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Manson said her seed of an idea led to him coming up with the idea of sending an ambulance to a war zone in Ukraine. He figured they also needed medical supplies and the ambulance would help.

"We saw them using DHL delivery vans to move people out of the area and thought, 'This could be better,'" he said.

Banda said she is excited about the performance and playing Eastern European music.

“We have done this for several years now and Vera also comes and plays with us,” Banda added. “It will be a wonderful concert of Eastern European music and also a great benefit cause to help those in Ukraine.”

This is the music that will be performed:

Piano Quartet No. 2 in E-flat major, Op. 87 Antonín Dvorák I. Allegro con fuoco Czech Republic 1841-1904 Le Murmure: Nocturne a trois mains Maria Szymanowska “The Whisper: Nocturne for Three Hands” Poland 1789-1831 Dumka: Duo Concertante for Rebecca Clarke Violin and Viola with Piano England 1886-1979 Melodie Myroslav Skoryk Ukraine 1938-2020, and Piano Quartet, Op. 1 Josef Suk III. Allegro con fuoco Czech Republic 1874-1935.

Links for the Jacoby fundraiser event: and on Facebook: People can donate on the first link even if they don’t buy tickets.

A scene in Ukraine.

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