Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs / Sun City Editor

A benefit concert on April 20 will raise money for Catholic Charities of Tompkins/Tioga's Immigrant Services Program.

April 17, 2018

Ithaca College Students Organize Benefit Concert For Refugees

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Ithaca College students will perform Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater” at a charity concert to raise money for Catholic Charities of Tompkins/Tioga’s Immigrant Services Program, an organization that helps resettle refugees in Ithaca.

“Our current administration is trying to make it harder for immigrants who are already here and for new immigrants, we should support the immigrants of today in light of what has been happening. We can’t just sit idly and let them be disadvantaged,” said conductor and coordinator Keehun Nam, a graduate student in his final semester of orchestral conducting at Ithaca College.

Nam said he was motivated to organize the benefit concert because he was an immigrant himself. Since he had first-hand experience with the challenges faced by immigrants, he wanted to extend a helping hand to alleviate their hardships.

“My experience was very positive, but even so it was not without challenges … I can’t imagine how much more difficult it is for refugees of war-torn countries to come here involuntarily without a good job set up,” he told The Sun.

Nam acknowledged that he was fortunate that his parents had good jobs and they lived in a decent community when his family immigrated to Minnesota from South Korea in 2001. Even so, he said it took him at least four years to adjust and said it took his parents longer to learn the new language and adapt to the new culture.

All the money raised from this concert will go towards the Catholic Charities of Tompkins/Tioga to help its Immigrant Services Program, according to Nam.

CCTT has been approved to bring up to 50 refugees to Ithaca from war-torn or unsafe countries, The Sun previously reported. The Immigrant Services Program at CCTT helps immigrants “attain family unity, economic independence and social integration” and assists “undocumented battered immigrant women and children gain legal status,” according to the program’s website.

Nam said he decided to donate the proceeds to this program after reading news stories online about how it had successfully relocated families of refugees in the past, saying that he believed he could trust the organization to make a real and tangible impact.

The concert will feature 10 string performance major students and two vocalists from Ithaca College, according to Nam. It will take place at the Immaculate Conception Church located at 113 N Geneva St on Friday, April 20 at 7 p.m.