Minnesota man embarks on 'Sinatra-style' concert series in Ukraine
Mark J. Lindquist, of Moorhead, well known in the military community for his performances, begins a Ukrainian concert series in Kharkiv. He has been volunteering as a humanitarian in Poland and the Ukraine since April.
KHARKIV, UKRAINE — Minnesota native and veteran Mark J. Lindquist is set to perform a “Sinatra-style” concert series beginning in Kharkiv, Ukraine on Friday, July 29.
As a First Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, Lindquist has experience concerning the morale of his soldiers. Now the former sergeant will try to improve the livelihood of Ukrainians fighting for their homes, and volunteers sacrificing their lives to help.
“Right about now is the time when the rhythm of war is wearing people down. The Ukrainians I talk to are still confident in their eventual victory, but it doesn’t matter how strong-minded you are… war wears on you,” Lindquist said.
Outside of his military service, Lindquist is well-known as a performer and motivational speaker. He has performed on over 124 bases across 22 countries and 38 states in a USO-style show called, “Tops in Blue”.
The concert series is free, with the first event taking place inside of a bunker in an undisclosed location in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city. The city has seen an abundance of violent military attacks from the Russian Federation since February.
Lindquist, who's been living in Moorhead back home, has been actively involved during the conflict, volunteering as a humanitarian and aid worker in Ukraine and Poland since April. For him, performing in the dangerous war-plagued country is nothing new.
“It is my intention to complete the same mission I did in the Middle East ten years ago – to bring a reminder to the audience that there is something to life other than war,” Lindquist said. “I believe that I can perform songs that transport people back to a time and a place that make you forget for a brief moment that there is a war going on around you.”
The concert is largely inspired by classic “big-band” singers like Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra.
“This concert in the midst of a war zone is being done in the same spirit as Bob Hope and the USO shows that even Frank Sinatra, himself, took part in back in the 1940s," Lindquist added.
While the concert setting isn’t ideal, Lindquist hopes his efforts will ease the minds of those affected.
“It is my hope that Ukrainians and western volunteers walk out of that bunker feeling refreshed and ready to go serve their country with renewed energy during this wartime.”