ALEXANDRIA, VA. - Wounded Warriors and Beethoven. Not your typical association.
However, it is Beethoven music that has raised hundreds of thousand of dollars for Wounded Warriors through Beethovenfound over the past few years.
Derived from a love of music, H. David Meyers and Brett Murray started putting on concerts a few years ago to raise money for special causes. “In real life, I do training and development," Murray said. "H. David and I are both musicians and we wanted to try to figure out ways to do what we do to help people."
Beethovenfound started out as a way to give instruments to kids. It also gave money and clothing to Project Hope. When Meyers met one of the soldiers who had been wounded, he took on the cause of giving to Wounded Warriors, "a cause that has become near and dear to us."
“I was doing training at Walter Reed (now Bethesda Naval) and saw how much help the Wounded Warriors needed. They are the heroes and so we talked about how we could help.”
And so, Beethovenfound, a 501(C)3 charity, was created to “utilize major symphony orchestras to help support people in need by organizing concerts to raise funds, provide entertainment, culture, and classical music education in a fun environment.”
“It’s been four years and we are trying to consolidate money and give the guys what they need – plus we have a good time. How else would I get to sing at the Kennedy Center?”
While the group has already hosted a couple of sold-out events at the Kennedy Center, they have set their sights even higher.
On Sunday, May 27 of this year's Memorial Day weekend, a grand festival honoring Wounded Warriors will be held at Great Meadow Field Events Center, home of the Virginia Gold Cup in The Plains. The festival will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Paying tribute to the nation’s wounded warriors hundreds of companies in support of wounded warriors will host corporate tents for clients and employees in a fun-filled day for the family.
The event will also feature the largest group of talented performers ever assembled for any occasion.
Members of the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, and National Symphony and other professional symphony musicians will come together to create a 200-member orchestra with a 500-strong chorus conducted by Maestro Ulysses S. James, Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association.
There will be six bands including Marcus Johnson and the Blackbyrds on a specially constructed stage surrounded by risers for the chorus and two Jumbotrons will show the action.
There will be more than 100 corporate tents with free barbeque and beer trucks serving an anticipated 30,000 guests. A Wounded Warrior softball team will play in front of the crowd.
There will also be free wine tastings from over 30 wineries and an air show will fly overhead. There will be games and fun for children of all ages in a carnival-type atmosphere, and much more.
Tickets are $45 each and are available online (www.bfwwt.org). Free barbeque, beer and wine tasting are included with admission.
Over 5,000 military, wounded warriors and their families are expected, as well as 30,000 festival goers.
- Over 200 members in an all-star symphony Orchestra
- Over 500 singers in the chorus
- A symphonic extravaganza
- Air show
- Company softball tournament and Wounded Warrior softball game.
- Children’s area with moon bounces, rock climbing, pony rides and more
- DC Diva's Professional Women's Football Fan Experience
The organizers of this event already have a proven record with hosting large events. Last June, A Tribute to Wounded Warriors, showcased musicians from the Baltimore Symphony, the National Symphony, and the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association. In total there were 117 members of the orchestra, but they had to cut that number to 108 to fit on the stage. It was the largest assemblage to perform in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.
Also conducting was David Sheets, director of ministries for marriage and choral conductor at McLean Bible Church.
Singers also came from all over – a total of 287. There were so many that the stage could not accommodate them either. Instead of not using all of them, Meyers decided to have the extra singers line up in the aisles.
Ulysses S. James, founder and music director of the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association conducted the event. The numbers didn’t faze him. He has already conducted at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall and Strathmore Concert Hall.
“H. David always thinks big. What he likes to do is have people have a good time and create a greater interest in classical music,” said James.
Meyers came up with this idea not only to promote orchestral music, but also to pay a tribute to the wounded warriors. In the audience were several wounded warriors, and special tribute was paid to one of those warriors, Staff Sgt. Jas Allen.
Meyers served as master of ceremonies and introduced the various guests – including Julia Nixon, Carol Connors, Shawn K. Clement and Jon Anderson.
In January of this year, James conducted A Concert for Project Blessing and a Tribute to Wounded Warriors, another sold-out fundraiser for the Wounded Warriors at the Terrace Theater of the Kennedy Center.
“It was a full house – 500 in attendance and $20,000 raised for our Beethovenfound Wounded Warrior Trust project,” said Meyers, organizer and host of the event.
More recently in March, James conducted yet another performance at the Kennedy Center.
“If you want something for yourself, give people what they want and you will be rewarded,” said Murray.
Event will be held on May 27, 2012, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at The Great Meadow Event Center (5089-Old Tavern Rd, the Plains, and VA). For more information, visit www.bfwwt.org or call 301-296-4408. For a limited time only, call and receive free tickets. Company tents and sponsorships are still available - call Brett 301-332-8318.