Catbird Crossing performs in April as part of a free concert in support of World Autism Acceptance Day at van der Brew in Winthrop. The band includes Aaron Bowman, left, on guitar, Ellen Bowman on accordion and fiddler Bruce Coffin. Catbird Crossing is set to perform at another charity concert at van der Brew, this time to help give aid to children in Ukraine. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

WINTHROP — After a group of local musicians held a successful concert to benefit the Autism Society of Maine at van der Brew in Winthrop last month, they were quickly motivated to host another. This Sunday, musicians will come together for a five-hour show at the same venue, with donations going toward UNICEF’s efforts to help children in Ukraine.

Ellen Bowman, who plays accordion and sings for Catbird Crossing, helped organize the April concert and was inspired to organize the upcoming show soon afterward.

“The (Autism benefit concert) went so well,” she said. “People were so generous and just felt uplifted by it. So we said, ‘Let’s do another benefit,’ and there was no question that it was going to be for Ukraine.”

From there, Bowman reached out to UNICEF and received approval for a poster advertising the show, which is scheduled for Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. at van der Brew in Winthrop.

While donations were not required for entry to the last show, or for this show, Bowman and the other musicians were able to raise nearly $700 for the Autism Society of Maine in April.

Bowman, along with Bill Stone of the band Stone Quarry, worked hard to set up the upcoming show. They brought the bands together, worked on publicity and secured van der Brew as the venue once again.


Bowman said van der Brew, which is typically closed Sundays, donated their venue and staff to support the cause.

As of Thursday, the lineup includes five acts: Jon Hasnip and Rick Ray, Ian & Brian, Stone Quarry, Catbird Crossing and a finale performance of the Ukrainian National Anthem and the Star-Spangled Banner featuring musicians Bruce Coffin, Richard Dow, Adam Soosman, Ellen Bowman, Bill Stone and Tracy Wright.

Additionally, Bob Blackwell is slated to help with sound, and lights will be run by Jack Duggins.

Bowman said the music encompasses a wide variety of genres, from folk to Americana to rock, and that community feedback leading up to the event has been positive.

“People are saying this is fantastic, and of course this should be happening,” she said. “It’s natural, considering all (the Ukrainians) are going through, and it bears repeating I think.”

She said it may be worthwhile to host additional concerts in other parts of the state to regularly support Ukrainian children as the war continues.


Donations will be taken at the door, and people can also donate to the cause on UNICEF’s website.

Bowman said the money will help with medical supplies and items for children in Ukraine.

“This will all go towards the needs of the children over there,” she said, “and they can count on UNICEF being a legitimate organization.”

UNICEF has a program expense ratio of 84%, with that percentage going toward children, 12% going toward fundraising, and 4% going toward administrative costs.

As the concert approaches, Bowman said she’s looking forward to the event.

“I’m just really hopeful for a good turnout, people can come rain or shine,” she said, “and come for any part of it or for all of it.”

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