Since the start of Russia’s full-scale attack on Ukraine on February 24th, the global arts community has been a big supporter of Ukraine — and that includes The Eastern Connecticut Center for History, Art, and Performance, a nonprofit organization also known as EC-CHAP. Soon after the attack on Ukraine, the leadership at EC-CHAP decided that their organization had to find a way to help the people of Ukraine, so they started to plan a fundraising event. Collaborating with the Acoustic Artist, Julia Autumn Ford, EC-CHAP is helping to organize the “Songs For Ukraine” Benefit Concert that will take place on Saturday, September 24th, at the Packing House, a historic venue in Willington, Connecticut. Local residents and those in neighboring towns are encouraged to attend this very important benefit.  EC-CHAP has a goal to raise $10,000 to support Ukraine.

100% of all proceeds from the event will be donated to the incredible nonprofit organization, Direct Relief. Attendees will not only support a very important cause, but are also in for a great evening that’s filled with song and art.

Here’s what’s planned for this very important benefit concert

Songs for Ukraine will feature live acoustic/folk performances from:

Foolish Wisely

Foolish Wisely

RJ Mac Carthaigh and Julia Autumn Ford are both multi instrumentalists and internationally touring artists with their own extensive histories in groups including Belle of the Fall, Field of Birds and The Slambovian Circus of Dreams. Foolish Wisely’s music features intricate folk/Americana-inspired songwriting supported by a diverse variety of instrumentation that lays ground for luxuriant harmonies. The duo draws inspiration from the likes of Paul Simon, David Byrne, Van Gogh, and Crosby Stills & Nash.

Xavier Serrano

Xavier Serrano

A local native to New Haven, CT, Xavier Serrano is influenced by artists like The Pentangle, Bert Jansch and Nick Drake. Xavier fuses traditional melodic styles with forward-thinking and unconventional forms. His songwriting spins stories of reawakening, self-growth, and the contemplations of life utilizing on the discordant chords of jazz, folk, and alternative rock.

Frank Critelli
Frank Critelli and Muddy Rivers

Frank Critelli with Muddy Rivers

Frank Critelli is a performing songwriter based in New Haven, Connecticut. He has performed in streets and subways, clubs and coffeehouses, barrooms, classrooms, theaters, and festivals for over 30 years. Frank Critelli’s songs run the gamut from pretty folk songs to filthy rockers. Frank Critelli also co-hosts The Local Bands Show with Rick Allison on 99.1fm, WPLR, New Haven.

But there’s more…

Also on hand will be two visual artists, Christopher Gunderson and Carol Mackiewicz Neely. Each will create an original piece of art “live” during the event. These works of art will be raffled to guests along with many other items donated by a wide range of businesses.

Scot Haney from WFSB Channel-3 TV will serve as Master of Ceremony.

Why Direct Relief?

There are many exceptional nonprofit organizations providing humanitarian aid and other support in Ukraine, so why did EC-CHAP choose to support Direct Relief? Thomas Buccino, Executive Director at EC-CHAP, commented “A key reason why we chose Direct Relief  is that nearly 100% of funds raised go directly to support Ukraine.” Unlike some other nonprofits, the majority of Direct Relief’s administrative costs are covered by grants, so the proceeds from the “Songs For Ukraine” will end up providing direct support to Ukrainians in need.

Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies – without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay.

Direct Relief is a recognized international partner of Ukraine’s Ministry of Health and supports several groups in Ukraine and regionally with requested medical aid—including trauma kits, cancer drugs, insulin, antidotes used in chemical attacks, and more.  As of this writing, Direct Relief has deployed more than 900 tons of medical aid and $15 million in financial assistance to Ukraine since the war broke out on February 24th. (Source:

Buy your tickets now—or just donate!

If you’re planning to be in the Connecticut area, this is a must-attend event. Advance tickets are available for purchase online for $30—and $35 for tickets purchased at the door.

And if you can’t attend, you can still donate or become a sponsor of the event.

Click the links below to buy your ticket, donate, or to become a sponsor.


The Eastern Connecticut Center for History, Art, and Performance is a member-based 501.c.3 nonprofit organization located in Willington, Connecticut. The organizations mission: to engage the senses, ignite the creative spirit, and preserve local history. EC-CHAP operates the Gardiner Hall Jr. History Museum, the Dye & Bleach House Community Gallery (an Artist In Residence Program,) and offers a variety of programming in The Packing House, a historic venue for performance and events.  Visit the EC-CHAP website to learn more.

Images courtesy of EC-CHAP.