United by Music and Love – Together, We Stand! 

Maria Ushakova

On the 6th of February 2019, a charity concert took place at the British Ambassador’s Residence at Sofiyskaya Naberezhnaya. The concert was coordinated by the Chevening Alumni organization and close friends of Lyubov Zolotova who is still in Thailand at the moment, fighting for her life and waiting to be evacuated back to Russia. The concert was attended by 70 people who helped to raise a little over 150,000 roubles. What an incredible gesture on behalf of the British Ambassador, to provide this venue where people could gather in order to help Lyubov come home. Not only were Sir Laurie Bristow and his wife present throughout the whole evening, but His Excellence gave a speech before the concert began. He set a charitable tone to the evening and stressed the importance of mutual help and solidarity, and just the importance of sharing human compassion. The Ambassador spoke to Lyubov’s mother – Irina Semenovna, and encouraged her to keep on being strong! Some of the guests who attended the event did not know Lyubov personally, but have heard of her.

Of course, a big thank you goes to EVERYBODY WHO ATTENDED the concert, you were an absolutely wonderful, open-hearted audience. Your presence, and your every gesture and word is very much appreciated by Lyubov and her family! We are grateful to all staff members at the residence, people who helped with the organization, Alexandra Mart, Olga Dyachenko, Alena, Anastasia and Simon, John and Mike and numerous others who carry love in your hearts for our Lyuba (you know who you are). The evening was focused on bringing people together in the same way that Lyuba always does at her concerts and lectures! Irina Semenovna’s touching speech emphasized how important it is for us to reach out to Lyubov with positive energy, so that she can hear our prayers, our celebration of her talent and uniqueness!

Irina Semenovna revealed a little bit about Lyubov’s background. She said that Lyubov, when still a teenager read and admired a personage in a book called ‘4th Height’, about a woman who was heroic against huge challenges in her life. Irina Semenovna never expected that Lyuba will have to become that person in her life time. She also mentioned Lyubov’s great merits, her Chevening of the Year Award for building bridges between Russia and the United Kingdom, and reiterated what we all know and cherish in Lyubov; what makes her so unique and special for us all. Irina also spoke about Lyubov’s father Evgeny who worked as a diplomat in the UN. It’s important to add, that despite all of Evgeny’s achievements, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Russia never replied to Lyubov’s family appeal for help to evacuate her from Thailand. Lyubov fortunately has one person she can rely on who has been by her side for almost a month now (at time of publishing) – her husband Andrey.

Our charity concert at the British Ambassador’s residence was just a small straw in the wind, we need more help of course. We say in Russia that the world is full of good people. There are a few individuals who remain anonymous, and who are willing to fully sponsor Lyubov’s rehabilitation here in Russia and will be glad to do this, when she comes back home. 

Let me just give you a taste of the emotion of the evening. You enter the Residence, turn left and there is an: ‘artists changing room,’ – a gorgeous place with coffee and tea, a lovely couch, chimney, cosy lightening, wonderful performers from the Bolshoi theatre chatting with guests… Baroque violin, Scottish Pipes… Upstairs, you come face to face with an absolute state of the art FLOWER arrangement prepared by Olga Skornyakova and her Askor Design Studio. A handmade flower; each petal (there are 3000 petals) sewn together especially for this evening, for Lyuba to serve as a backdrop for her video messages! 

You go inside the main hall with the view over the river to the Kremlin and sit down to watch devoted friends- artists and singers just like her, singing and playing for her and for all of us. Igor Vinogradov (Pipe) – a composition called ‘Hunt’, really bringing us straight into fighting mode and making us want to pursue Lyubov’s recovery, then a rendition of ‘Guardian Angel’ by Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, performed by the incredibly talented and beautiful Emma – Marie Kabanova. This was followed by many other amazing performances, it was simply an incredible and extraordinary evening of music that unites us all for a good cause and sets a great START to the YEAR of THE MUSIC between Russia and the UK, which won’t be completely over without the SKINNY lady singing. Lyuba, come home, we love you and we are waiting for you. Just check out the photo of all of us together, we are together with you and for you! Big hug! United by Music and Love – Together, We Stand! 

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