Support for Ukraine

In response to queries from members about what to do about putting on events in support of Ukraine and about performing Russian music and engaging Russian performers, we have put together some guidance.

Showing support for Ukraine

Raise money to support aid efforts in Ukraine

This is something lots of groups are doing at their events. There are a few things to be aware of to make sure you are raising money so that you aren't moving away from your charity objectives, and that donations are used in the best way.

How to raise money: if your group is a charity itself then you need to be careful about how you raise the money for causes that are not directly related to your charity’s objectives (i.e. music). The two key things to remember are:

  • when someone gives money, it should be clear where that money is going and what cause it will support
  • any money you raise should go as directly as possible to the benefitting organisations / charities that the money has been raised for.

The simplest way to do this is to shake a bucket at an event and pass the money directly to an aid charity (see below).

Another way you can help is by donating your skill as a musicians to perform for free at an event organised by someone else.

Where to send the money: there are well established structures for emergency humanitarian aid appeals like this. In the UK, The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) works with established aid organisations and charities to ensure funds raised are used to help people in Ukraine in the best way. They also have some resources and materials to help you fundraise.

Gift Aid: for Gift Aid to be claimed on a donation there must be a direct relationship between the donor and benefiting charity. So, if you raise money to be passed onto the DEC you cannot claim Gift Aid on that money before passing it on. DEC do have authorised fundraising packs (see fundraising resources on their site) that essentially mean you create the relationship between DEC and the donors – so that when you pass the money to DEC and they can claim Gift Aid directly.

Programming Ukrainian music

Lots of people have provided links to sheet music online.

National Anthem:

Prayer for Ukraine: this is a hymn written in 1885 by Oleksandr Konysky and Mykola Lysenko that has become an unofficial national anthem. Read more on Wikipedia

Other Ukrainian Music: Opera Lviv have music by Ukrainian composers

Russian music

Over the last few weeks, many cultural events involving Russian performers have been cancelled in a show of support for Ukraine. We understand that groups might want to do the same – or indeed be concerned about the reputational damage of not doing this.

Your artistic programming is of course up to you, and we would never tell groups what they should and should not be performing. But clearly this is an important issue, so we have put together some thoughts that might help inform your thinking.

Dead Russian composers: there are a great many dead Russian composers whose music is still popular today with performers and audiences. There is little reason that performing music of long dead composers should be seen as a pro-Russian stance. However, given the sensitivity you might choose to show some support for Ukraine if you do perform them.

Living composers and Russian performers: these are trickier waters to navigate, and most arts events being cancelled are in relation to living artists. There will be some instances where cancellation / a boycott might be the right thing to do. There isn’t a blanket policy to be applied and some nuance is needed. Some things to consider are:

  1. the profile of the artists – and any views or statements they might have made about Russia and the war in Ukraine
  2. where the artist is living - are they in Russia, or have they moved abroad?
  3. what the artist themselves want to do? They might want to perform and make a pro-Ukrainian statement
  4. what your members think generally - but particularly if you have Ukrainians in your group
  5. the profile of your group – global / national events will have different considerations to local events – you know your local community and the groups reputation best
  6. the venue and their view - especially if it is high profile one. 

If you do perform Russian music you might want to acknowledge it and give it some historical and cultural context. You might also consider ways to show support for Ukraine at the concert. 

We hope you find this Making Music resource useful. If you have any comments or suggestions about the guidance please contact us. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the content of this guidance is accurate and up to date, Making Music do not warrant, nor accept any liability or responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the content, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information contained in it.