UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) — Ukrainians are a musical people. They love their folk music as well as their serious, contemporary classical music.

A crowd of Ukrainian New Yorkers and those worried about Ukraine attended the Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival and fundraiser on Friday. It is the third annual Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival, but this year it is perhaps more deeply moving and poignant for many who are worried about the future of Ukraine.

It has been 23 days since Russia invaded Ukraine. At Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center, musicians and audience members alike said they were thinking of all the pain and suffering of the Ukrainian people in this opening evening of the festival called Forest Song.

“We didn’t change the program once the invasion happened,” said Leah Batstone, Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival director. “We wanted to stick with the landscape theme. One of the things Ukrainians are fighting for is the land.”

The composers of these pieces were not able to leave Ukraine once the invasion started. And many up on stage are Ukrainian American musicians worried about loved ones back home in the country they love.

“There’s a famous quote from Leonard Bernstein that says, ‘In the face of violence, we can only make music,’” said Margarita Rovenskaya, a Ukrainian American pianist. “So to celebrate Ukrainian art right now, that’s all we can do.”

Ticket prices for the Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival start at $15 with an option to donate $10 or more for humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine. Many audience members felt that was well worth it.

“All my family is Ukrainian,” said concertgoer Tatiana Beach. “When I heard about this, I wanted to support.”

“My family’s all Ukrainian and I live in the neighborhood and I wanted to see it,” said concertgoer Hilary Zarycky.

There are still two days of the Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. For more ticket info, go to kaufmanmusiccenter.org