On day 11 of the invasion, there was standing room only at St Thomas’s Church in support of Ukraine.  People gathered from Winchelsea, Rye and around the district for a fundraising concert by Misha Galant. 

The Disasters Emergency Committee recorded that £1m an hour was being donated in the UK last weekend, and the Winchelsea event added over £6,000 to the total.

Misha had been staying with Tom Hoffman and Jane Archutowska in Winchelsea while he took part in the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition.  Aged 24, with an American father and Russian mother, he has been studying in Moscow and the US.  He performed music by Alexander Scriabin and César Franck, bringing the concert to a stirring conclusion with a bravura performance of Chopin’s Polonaise in A flat major – ‘The Heroic’.  Applause was long and loud.  Circumstances mean that Misha will not be able to return to Russia in the foreseeable future.

In his closing remarks, the Rector, Jonathan Meyer reflected on the power that comes from gathering in a sacred space to affirm our shared humanity.  As we express our solidarity with the besieged people of Ukraine, he asked us also to remember Misha’s family in Russia, the young Russian soldiers, conscripted into this needless conflict, and brave citizens protesting in Moscow and beyond.

The concert is online on YouTube –  https://youtu.be/XdyBANFab_E  

Tom Hoffman, Jane Archutowska, Misha Galant and Jonathan Meyer