Celebrate Memorial Day with classical music and family-friendly activities.
By Gale Curcio
Wounded warriors and Beethoven. It’s not your typical association, but Beethoven’s music is a key factor in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for men and women injured during military service through an organization called Beethovenfound.
It’s an idea that came from founding members H. David Meyers and Brett Murray, whose love of music led them to organize concerts a few years ago as a fundraiser 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 donated money and clothing to Project Hope. But when Meyers met a wounded soldier, the group found a new cause. “I was doing training at Walter Reed (now Bethesda Naval) and saw how much help wounded warriors needed,” he recalled. ”They are heroes, and so we talked about how we could help.”
Since then, the nonprofit has been working with major symphony orchestras to raise much-needed funds while providing entertainment, culture and classical music education in a fun environment.
While the group has already hosted a couple of sold-out events at the Kennedy Center, they have set their sights even higher with its Memorial Day Tribute to Wounded Warriors, scheduled to take place Memorial Day weekend.
Musicians from the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony and National Symphony plan to come together forming a 200-member orchestra with a 500-strong chorus conducted by Maestro Ulysses S. James of the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association.
No less than six bands, including Marcus Johnson and the Blackbyrds will also entertain on a specially constructed stage surrounded by risers for the chorus.
About 100 tents with free barbecue and beer trucks will serve an anticipated 30,000 attendees and 5,000 members of the military and wounded warriors. Attendees can also root for veterans at a softball game or admire gleaming cars at a classic car show. If that weren’t enough, you can also try wine from 30 local wineries, view an overhead air show or watch the kids as they bounce around in a moon bounce and pet some ponies.
“H. David always thinks big,” said Maestro James. ”He likes to let people have a good time while creating a greater interest in classical music.”
Beethovenfound’s Memorial Day Tribute to Wounded Warriors Sunday, May 27, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Great Meadow Field Events Center, 5089-Old Tavern Rd., The Plains, Va. Tickets are $45 and include barbecue, beer and wine tasting and can be purchased online. For more information, visit www.bfwwt.org or call 301-296-4408. For a limited time only, call and receive free tickets. For information on company tents and sponsorships, call Brett 301-332-8318.