Concert featuring music of Harold Arlen to raise money for veterans’ causes

Two Villages-based veteran assistance organizations will take “A Journey over the Rainbow” and are inviting the public to join them at the musical performance, the Music of Harold Arlen on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Savannah Center.

Villagers For Veterans and the local chapter of the Jewish War Veterans have teamed up to sponsor the fundraiser that will augment their collaborative efforts for veterans with physical disabilities and others in need.

The concert features the music Harold Arlen who composed more than 500 songs including all the music for the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz.  Judy Garland’s memorable Over the Rainbow went on to receive the Academy Award for Best Original Song and voted ‘the twentieth century’s No. 1 song by the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment of the Arts.’ His portfolio, of major ‘hits’ of the 1930s and 1940s, also contains classics such as Get HappyStormy Weather, It’s Only a Paper MoonI’ve Got the World on a String, and Last Night When We Were Young.

“We can never do enough for those who have given up so much for us,” explained JWV Post 352 Commander Gerry Prezioso.  “For example, we help fund the Orlando Fisher House that will provide accommodations for families of veterans and active duty personnel receiving inpatient treatment at the nearby VA Medical Center.  The Post also supports the Villagers For Veterans’ initiatives such as providing service dogs.”

Since 2014 the 70 members of the Villagers For Veterans, under the leadership of Marie Bogdonoff, have raised more than $500,000 enabling them to present 19 all-terrain wheelchairs to paraplegic and quadriplegic veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; sponsor educational seminars; and underwrite respite services for family care-givers.

The JWV’s Judith A. Resnik Post 352, was founded by Prezioso in 2012 and named for the second female NASA astronaut and who perished in the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster. “Our membership of 63 veterans continues to grow,” continued Prezioso.  “Each year, we participate in some 12 military events by ‘showing our company flag’ and also serve as sole color guard.” 

Information about the Villagers For Veterans is available by contacting Marie at (516) 220-5068 or villagersforveterans.org.   

The JWV’s next meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Canal Street Recreation Center.  Interested veterans can contact Jerry at (917) 538-1893.

Concert tickets, for Villagers are $22 and $27 for others, are available at the Villages’ box offices or at thevillagesentertainment.org.

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