ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – If music is a universal language, then 13-year-old violinist Serafim Fitzgerald has a lot to say.
“It’s my life,” said Fitzgerald.
At least six hours a day, he has his face in the chin rest and his hand on the bow.
He’s making sure he is heard, not only here in St. Pete, but around the world.
“I came here because I want to donate for Ukraine. Send money to my family, my teachers, my friends, my cousins, my grandma from Ukraine,” said Fitzgerald.
Those loved ones are now hiding in basements fighting for their lives.
The day the war started is a day Fitzgerald will never forget.
“My mom came to me. It was around 11 p.m. I was sleeping and my mom came to me and she was hugging me and crying. I woke and I asked her why she was crying. She answered, ‘there’s a war in Ukraine.’”
This Seminole Middle School seventh grader grew up with family here in Florida, but they go back to Ukraine each summer.
This summer, that’s not an option.
So instead, Fitzgerald is here every single weekend on the St. Pete Pier, fighting for his country the best way he knows how.
“When talking to mom, it was just like, ‘What can we do to help?’ Just brainstorming. And Serafim was just like, ‘Well, I play violin, maybe I can help,’” said Fitzgerald’s brother, Yelisey Yenchenko.
And he certainly has, collecting nearly $5,000 to send back to hospitals, armies, and families in need.
“Our whole family, we’re just so proud of him. Not just in Ukraine but, here, we try to support him and motivate him to continue doing this,” said Yenchenko.
Fitzgerald won’t let the sounds of sirens and missiles on the other side of the world muddle his voice.
He demands to be heard.
“I’m donating for Ukraine for them to be safe,” said Fitzgerald.
Because music is a universal language, and he is saying, “I stand with you.”