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NDV hosts benefit concert for Syrian refugees
by Tom Burke, Catholic San Francisco

Notre Dame des Victoires Church was the site for "Movements for Migrants," a concert Jan. 13 benefiting Syrian refugees. The evening featured musicians from the Notre Dame Parish music program, the Alden Trio, Chamber Music Society of San Francisco, Pacific Boychoir, as well as soloists.

"We've raised $1,600 to date toward our goal of $2,500," Camellia Rodriguez-SackByrne, a member of the NDV music program and principal organizer of the benefit, told Catholic San Francisco. Partner organizations included Neighborhood Performance Project, a music nonprofit, and Pacific Boychoir Academy. 

Flute and guitar_Camellia RSB and Achi Ben Shalom. Photo by Scot GoodmanThe concert grew out of concern for "the dire situation of Syrian families fleeing violence and forced to resettle in other countries," Rodriguez-SackByrne said.

"Music is something beautiful that brings people together; expresses emotion and aspects of our shared humanity; and crosses boundaries and borders."

Singer Diana Gameros was among those on the concert marquee. "Being an immigrant myself, I know of the importance of feeling welcomed, supported and loved in the journey toward a brighter and safer home. Singing songs that give hope and raise awareness about migration issues is the least I can do, it's my way of saying to the migrants: ‘Welcome, I support you, I love you.'"

The title of the event, "Movements for Migrants" reflects both the "movements" in musical pieces as well as people coming together in social justice "movements" and the "movement" of refugees in flight, Rodriguez-SackByrne said. Musicians presented a variety of repertoire from classical to original compositions.

Rodriguez-SackByrne's professional background is in human rights and immigration. She is also a professional flutist and performs frequently in the community at churches and synagogues, senior centers, and hospitals.
When she floated the idea of the concert on social media "there was an immediate response from numerous Bay Area musicians who care about this issue and wanted to donate their time performing a piece," Rodriguez-SackByrne said.

Marist Father Rene Iturbe, Notre Dame des Victoires pastor, and Mary Ghisolfo, principal at the parish school were "incredibly supportive of this event," with the church donating the performance space, Rodriguez-SackByrne said, pointing out the parish's service to the French immigrant community many years ago.

The cast of "Movements for Migrants," included Marco Rozzano, Natasha Makhijani, Rob Grant, Camellia Rodriguez-SackByrne, Caroluna Michelson, Jennifer Lee, Sarah Lee, Diana Gameros, Yuri Kye, Jon Lee, Ed Baskerville and Clio Tilton.

Donations may be given online at http://diy.rescue.org/concert_for_refugees.




To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly. Let us protect with love all that God has given us!

Pope Francis
St. Peter's Square
March 19, 2013


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