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“Ben and I Play for Peace,” an instrumental guitar concert, will take place on Saturday, April 20 at St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin, and benefit the "Wounded Warrior Project". The event features guest musician Ben Werdegar, a 15-year-old guitar prodigy from San Francisco, Calif., who has raised more than $40,000 to provide wheelchairs to disabled and injured children in Iraq through CNN Hero and Texan Brad Blauser’s organization, “Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids.” Since last year’s concerts, Ben has become the largest single fundraiser for “WFIK".
Joining Werdegar in concert will be Concordia Adjunct Music Professor Kim Perlak, the “I” in “Ben & I Play Peace”, along with special guests. Perlak and Werdegar met during summer 2010 at the Verdery Guitar Class in Maui, Hawaii.
Last year the concert at Concordia, along with sister city concerts in Seattle and Sarasota, raised $10,000, nearly doubling the previous year's total. This year’s concert will benefit the“Wounded Warrior Project” to honor the troops who have supported "WFIK" founder, Brad Blauser, in delivering wheelchairs to children in war-torn Iraq.
Suggested donations for this event are $20 for general admission at the door (cash,check, credit card) but any donation amount is welcome. Advance tickets are not available; however, anyone wishing to make an advance donation may do so on the Wounded Warrior website. Print the receipt and show it at the concert for admission. For directions and free parking information, click here.
Through the musical style of gospel and blues, the event aims to raise awareness in the community about the sacrifice that veterans and their families make through serving their country. The closing piece will be Perlak's own arrangement of "God Bless America".
About the event:
This concert has become an annual project of Dr. Perlak’s “American Popular Music History” courses at Concordia University Texas. As the students learn about the power of music to create positive change and express an American identity, they join with professional members of the community to do so in the present. Veterans and community members taking Perlak's "Guitar(ing) for Peace" class through St. David's Journey Program will also be joining the concert event.
Kirby Kelley, Guitar Center's "2009 King of the Blues" has roots in St. Louis, Missouri and Texas and is a master of Delta-style blues. Kim met Kirby in 2002 during a recording of her arrangement of "God Bless America".
Faculty including: Dr. Karla Hamelin, cello; Dr. Amy Harris, violin; Lynn Daniel, bass; Aaron Lack, drums; Blythe Cates, soprano
The St. David's Children's Choir, directed by Mary Ashton
Members of the Guitar(ing) for Peace class in St. David's Journey Program
For more information, contact Kim Perlak @ firstname.lastname@example.org.