Composer debuts work to benefit Ukraine

Jul 11, 2022

MARION — When composer and Marion resident Ronald Wisner composed Four Winds, a maritime-themed work in four parts, he hoped to introduce his creation at a fund-raiser to support the local community.

But as the world turned, he decided to change the concert’s beneficiary to a community thousands of miles away, but close to people’s hearts: Ukraine.

He decided the concert would benefit grassroots efforts to help Ukrainians. After researching charities related to Ukraine, he selected groups that supported various needs, including helping refugees, providing medical relief and offering support for families while soldiers are away fighting.

“God works in mysterious ways,’’ he said of the change of plans. 

The premiere performance of “The Four Winds’’ will take place at 7:30 p.m. July 25 at St. Gabriel’s Church, 124 Front St.

He had originally planned the event as a benefit for the works of St. Gabriel’s Church. 

Their outreach has included ministries in Haiti, El Salvador and Ecuador and domestic trips to Montana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Wisner, who has written and performed works across the country, also hopes the concert would bring together a community that had been starved of live music and connections during the pandemic. “It was time,’’ he decided, “to rebuild our community connection.’’

The Four Winds features 16 movements in four quartets. The performance will feature a viola and cello player, Ethan Wood and Peter Zay, and two violinists, Jennifer Memoli and Travis Rapoza. All of them have played for the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, among other musical ensembles.

“I’m very, very honored and pleased to have these musicians playing this music for the first time,’’ he said.

The works reflect the area’s connection to the sea, including the landing of the Vikings on Cape Cod and the mysterious disappearance of the Mary Celeste, whose captain hailed from Marion. The ship was located adrift and deserted in the Atlantic Ocean in 1872.

With such deep maritime roots in the area, Wisner hopes the musical theme will touch a chord. 

He created the music as a “celebration of the seagoing traditions of the area,’’ he said. A good portion of the region’s population has ties to the sea, he said, whether in fishing, sailing or oyster farming. “Much of the local economy is based on the sea,’’ he said. 

He hopes the community will gather en masse to hear the music and support the cause. “I’d love to fill that hall to standing room only,’’ he said. Tickets are $22.50 and are available through or by calling (508) 748-1507.