December 1, 2023

Sunday afternoon music festival benefits Ukrainian refugees

The Malinka World Music Collective performing on the Green Show stage on the Oregon Shakespeare Festival campus.
October 14, 2022

Ashland synagogue hosts outdoor gathering with music, food, beer and wine

By Holly Dillemuth, 

Those looking for a way to help Ukrainian refugees needn’t look far this weekend as a benefit concert slated for Sunday at Havurah Shir Hadash in Ashland aims to benefit those seeking refuge right here in the Rogue Valley, and provide a relaxed outdoor gathering with music, food and spirits.

An afternoon lineup of outdoor performances ranging from BlueGrass to Brazilian music is scheduled from 2 to 7 p.m. in the garden of the Ashland synagogue, 185 N. Mountain Ave. Local artists and bands include The Danielle Kelly Soul Project, 33 String Drive, Malinka and Os Alquimistas. Ashland High School’s Culinary Arts students will sell food and sodas; beer and wine will also be for sale.

Danielle Kelly Soul Project players include Kelly, front; Richard Meyer, left; and Paul Turnipseed.

Scott Bandoroff, an Ashland psychologist and longtime member of Havurah Shir Hadash, organized the gathering in conjunction with local organization Uniting for Ukraine Rogue Valley, a group that’s rallied around the effort to bring Ukrainian refugees to southern Oregon since this summer. The event is also sponsored by Havurah Shir Hadash.

“We’re inviting people to come out and welcome them to our community after the trauma and tragedy they’ve experienced having to flee their homeland,” Bandoroff said. “We want to show them the warmth of our community.”

Ukrainian refugees Mikhail (Mike) Zhyvotovski and Olena (Lena) Zhyvotovska with their children their children Kostya, 11, and Andrey, 4.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will help offset the costs of airfare for bringing families to the Rogue Valley from Ukraine, which for a family of four can range between $6,000 to $8,000, according to Bandoroff.

Uniting for Ukraine Rogue Valley have helped place five families and individuals in the Rogue Valley. A sixth family was expected to arrive Thursday, Oct. 13. Since the families are refugees, they have the rights of citizens, Bandoroff said, but the organization can connect them with even more resources through the organization.

“We can get them signed up at (Department of Human Services) for Oregon Health Plan and food stamps and other forms of financial assistance,” Bandoroff said. “We need to step in more for buying them things that they’ve lost or setting up cell phone plans for them or special medical needs that aren’t covered by Oregon Health Plan, things like that.”

The organization is looking for more host families, as well as individuals interested in supporting host families.

Host families can be someone who has an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or an RV to a traditional room in a house, with the possibility for the organization to come alongside and provide a support team to meet the needs of the refugee family.

“If somebody didn’t want to have hosting responsibilities, we could just have a bigger support team and meet all their needs, so we’ll take whatever level of commitment they’re willing to provide, but most importantly, we need a roof over their heads,” he said.

Bandoroff’s volunteer trip near the Polish border in Krakow, Poland, this summer helped to connect him with more Ukrainian families in need of refuge. He also helped a humanitarian group shop for and distribute supplies to incoming refugees. Through his volunteer work there, he persuaded a family from Mariupol, Ukraine, which had a population of 1.5 million, to seek refuge in the Rogue Valley. They are among the families currently in the Rogue Valley, with the help of the organization.

Bandoroff recalled Monday how an Ashland Chamber of Commerce video helped him seal the deal, showing them what the area was like.

After volunteering this summer, he is housing a Ukrainian woman attending Southern Oregon University on a music scholarship and has also welcomed other families.

For Bandoroff, a variety of factors go into supporting Ukrainian refugees, including honoring his own eastern European heritage. His great-grandparents and grandparents fled the region during a pogrom, an organized massacre of eastern European Jews, in the late 19th and early 20th century. It’s also about doing the right thing.

“A lot of my family’s history is played out in that part of the world,” Bandoroff said. “That’s certainly part of the picture for me, but the bigger picture is just wanting to do right in the world, and feeling like this is a terrible injustice and hard to stand by and helplessly watch it.” 

Bandoroff started the Uniting for Ukraine Rogue Valley organization earlier this summer in conjunction with Havurah Shir Hadash, a nonprofit.

Through the fundraiser, he hopes to help raise money for airfare spent on bringing refugees to Ashland.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $12.50 for students or those experiencing hardships, and children 12 and under are free. Tickets are for sale at, or can be purchased at the Music Coop (cash only). Blankets and low beach chairs are welcome for the event. A silent auction and raffle will also be available.

More details on the event as well as the organization and its efforts locally are available on the Uniting for Ukraine Rogue Valley website.

Reach reporter Holly Dillemuth at

Oct. 14 update: Photo caption corrected (ages of children were transposed).

Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Email him at

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