Calvin Jones and his wife Inga left Ukraine by car after being woken up by heavy bombing on February 24.
Ukraine-based musician Calvin Jones recorded a benefit song for the country that is currently under attack from Russia. Jones worked with a Russian orchestra to record a dozen of the songs he composed or arranged. One of them is a Ukrainian song titled "Shchedryk (Carol of the Bells)." Jones is an American and has been living in Ukraine since 2014. His wife Inga is Ukrainian. They were forced to flee Ukraine in the wake of the Russian attack and are now in Montenegro. Jones is releasing the songs to raise money for two charities that are helping victims of the Russian attack — Loads of Love and Music Mission Kiev, reported PEOPLE. He is hoping the songs provide "hope and peace."
"Music brings us together," said the composer and pianist, who worked with a 55-piece Taurida International Symphony Orchestra in St. Petersburg, Russia in July 2017 to record a dozen songs. "We had a beautiful collaboration," recalled Jones. "It's a fun group because they are young, and we were together in peace and unity." Calvin Jones and his family saw their life being upended overnight. The couple woke up to "a big deafening explosion," with the walls shaking on February 24. They packed all they could fit into the car and escaped Ukraine into Montenegro in a journey lasting a week. They traveled through Ukraine and then through Romania before reaching a friend's apartment in Montenegro.
It was last Friday that Calvin Jones finally released his 2017 rendition of "Schedryk" recorded with the Russian orchestra. He announced that 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the charities. "Just a few years ago, we were doing this, collaborating together," he recalls. He also made it a point that not every Russian wants war. "These musicians are not mongering for war here," said Jones, before adding he was worried for their safety. "I'm fearful for them and I'm very fearful for my Ukrainian musician friends who are trapped — they're hiding out in the basement bunkers. There's no music going on right now, I'll tell you that much," he added.
Jones hails from South Dakota and has been playing the piano since he was 6. He first visited Ukraine in 2012 before doing concerts in the country and settling down there. He met Inga, a computer professional from Kyiv in 2013 before getting married in 2014. The couple is now hoping to settle in America and trying to work out the details to secure a visa for Inga so she can enter the US with him. "We're trying to put together something that's been torn apart," Jones says. "We don't know yet what will happen." It's been heartbreaking for the couple to watch Kyiv and the people of Ukraine be attacked and killed. Inga's family still remains in Kyiv and one of her relatives has died from the attack. "It's so hard for them to leave, even though bombs are exploding," said Jones, who's arranging money to help her relatives escape.
Ukraine President Zelenskyy has said he is ready to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin but warned World War III looms if the negotiation fails. “I’m ready for negotiations with him. I was ready for the last two years. And I think that without negotiations, we cannot end this war,” said Zelensky, reported CNN. If there’s just 1% chance for us to stop this war, I think that we need to take this chance. We need to do that. I can tell you about the result of these negotiations — in any case, we are losing people on a daily basis, innocent people on the ground," he said.
You can listen learn more about his Ukraine charity work on his website.
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