Uptown Music Collective raises $4,484 for Wounded Warrior Project

On Saturday, February 11, students from the Uptown Music Collective teamed up with students from area schools, and the staff of the Community Arts Center to present The Purple Heart Project: A fundraising concert for Wounded Warriors. The highly successful performance, organized by UMC student, Nuria Hunter, a senior at Williamsport Area High School and Collin Lakatos, a junior at Williamsport Area High School, raised $4,484.00 for the Wounded Warrior Project.

The Purple Heart Project featured over 40 students performing rock songs with a patriotic or related message. The songs included music form Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, James Brown, Richie Havens, Crosby Stills Nash and Young and more. There was also a raffle and silent auction with all proceeds going directly to The Wounded Warrior Project.

The evening also featured guest speaker U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Chris Bain, a decorated veteran of the Iraq war and a representative of the Wounded Warrior Project. Bain, a Williamsport native, shared his story of spending three years in Walter Reed Hospital recovering from wounds received in Iraq. During his speech he highlighted the importance of the help and inspiration he received from the members of the Wounded Warrior Project. His story was inspirational for both students and audience alike. Moved to tears at times during the performance Bain said, “If all these great kids can come together and play music like this, than we can do anything.”

The Wounded Warrior Project, founded by several veterans and friends who were moved by stories of the first wounded service members returning home, began by providing comfort items to these wounded service members from Afghanistan and Iraq. The organization, which started small, has grown into a complete rehabilitative effort to assist warriors as they recover and transition back into civilian life. Tens of thousands of Wounded Warriors and caregivers receive support each year through WWP programs designed to nurture the mind and body, and encourage economic empowerment and engagement.

“Once every year, the students of the Uptown Music Collective transcend their musicianship with citizenship,” said Rob Steele, Executive Director of the Community Arts Center.  “Since we have all come to know that their musicianship is extraordinary…it stands to reason that their commitment to making a difference in the world would follow suit…and it has.”

Over the past two years the Collective has used their performance program to help raise money for charitable causes and organizations. Previous charity fundraising concerts have included, Lejeune’s Pou Ayiti:  Youth for Haiti, in which all proceeds raised went to Direct Relief International to help the people of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Also, the students raised money for the local nonprofit, the Children’s Development Center, with their performance last year entitled, Reaching Beyond Limits. Each performance raised over $5,000.00 for the intended charity.

“Teaching our students the power of music to create change and the importance of giving back to the community are both cornerstones of what the Uptown Music Collective endeavors to do,” stated Dave Brumbaugh, Executive Director of the Uptown Music Collective. “At the same time reminding ourselves that we are not helpless in the face of the problems of the world and that music can be one of the most persuasive and effective tools for shining the light on injustice and bringing people together to help one another in times of need.”

Established in April of 2000, the Uptown Music Collective (a 501c 3 non profit school of music) has developed a reputation as the premier source of music education in the area, with an enrollment of over 125 students. Offering private lessons at all levels on guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals, as well as classes and workshops in music theory, songwriting, and styles such as the Blues, Jazz, Classical and Rock.

The primary age range of the Collective is 10 – 18 yrs old, but is open to all ages and levels. Along with private lessons, the UMC offers a myriad of programs including its flagship Performance Program. This program educates students about the ins and outs of major and minor performances, including direction, production, preparation and technical aspects of the performances.

For more information about, The Purple Heart Project: A Fundraising Concert for Wounded Warriors, or the Uptown Music Collective, check out www.uptownmusic.org/mediaroom or call 570-329-0888.


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