Portland concert kicks off two-day event in support of refugees worldwide

PORTLAND, Maine — Kinan Azmeh’s CityBand played at Fort Allen Park in Portland Wednesday night to kick off a series of events called ‘A Message From Far Away,’

Portland Ovations hosted the free concert featuring Azmeh, a clarinetist, and composer.

Organizers say the events are a way for Portland to interact and be a part of a U.K.-based traveling festival of art called ‘The Walk’ to show support for refugees.

“Portland is famous for being a very city of hospitality, where many newcomers, regardless of their political status are welcome,” Azmeh told NEWS CENTER Maine. “So it’s only natural to be extending a hand to somebody who’s far away.”

Dozens of people attended Wednesday night’s event.

There are two more scheduled for Thursday, including a parade at Monument Square set for 12:30 p.m.

The parade will wrap up with a live stream of Teenage New Mainers reading letters of hope to a 12-foot-tall puppet named Little Amal, that organizers say is representing all refugees in ‘The Walk’ overseas.

“It’s just really important I think that when people can come together, art is a wonderful way to gather, Aimee Petrin, Executive Director of Portland Ovations said. “And it gives us the chance to think about the world and open our hearts and open our minds to other people and other cultures. And to also think about where we fit in the world.”