When Joey Dundore founded JoeyDCares Rock Orchestra in September 2010, he was looking for a way to keep Carroll County students and community members involved in music and give back to charities at the same time.
Since then the orchestra has grown from just five children to nearly 50 members of all ages and has helped countless charities, Dundore said.
In April JoeyDCares Rock Orchestra performed throughout the entirety of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, the biggest event they have performed at so far. That day the Walk to Cure Diabetes raised more than $60,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and Dundore said he and the members of JoeyDCares were proud to be a part of it.
Now the orchestra is gearing up for its biggest performance of the summer - a benefit concert for Wounded Warrior Project scheduled for July 14 at Century High School.
The Wounded Warrior Project benefit concert was the brainchild of Jim Hiltz, who plays guitar in JoeyDCares alongside his son, Trevor, 14, who plays tuba. Jim's 16-year-old daughter Alexandra also helps with sound at the group's concerts.
Jim became involved with the orchestra when he dropped Trevor off for practice one day and heard the group was down a guitarist. He stepped in to help temporarily, he said, but it has since become a permanent position.
Jim came up with the idea to hold a benefit concert for Wounded Warrior Project around Veteran's Day this year, he said.
"Red, white and blue has always played a large part in my family's life," Jim said. "These men and women risk their lives for freedom every day, and to find out that many soldiers are 19, 20 years old, that's not much older than my kids."
Jim said he was most shocked to learn how many soldiers from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have returned home with invisible wounds that no one can see, on top of the physical wounds.
According to the Wounded Warrior Project website, more than 48,000 servicemen and women have been physically injured in recent military conflicts, and an estimated 400,000 returned with invisible wounds like post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression. An additional 320,000 servicemen and women are believed to have sustained a traumatic brain injury while deployed, according to the website.
Jim said he hopes the benefit concert will spotlight both the Wounded Warrior Project and the work that members of JoeyDCares do for charitable organizations.
"Charity goes a lot further than just raising money, it's about awareness, too," he said.
Dundore said children in the orchestra have created posters with statistics from the Wounded Warrior Project to share with attendees at the event. All profits from the concert will be donated to the charity, and Dundore said he hopes to raise around $10,000.
"The bottom line is we really just want to help," Dundore said.
Wounded Warrior Project is a national organization that was founded in 2003 and now has headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla. The purpose of the organization is to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured service members aid and assist each other, and to provide programs and services to meet their needs, according to http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org.
Jim's son Trevor said he enjoys playing with a group of talented musicians in JoeyDCares Rock Orchestra and helping out good causes like Wounded Warrior Project.
"It's a great feeling to help out so many good organizations by simply playing my tuba," Trevor said.
The Wounded Warrior Project benefit concert will be hosted by 105.7 TheFAN's Mark Zinno, who is currently a Major in the Maryland Army National Guard and deployed to Iraq from 2005-2006, Dundore said.
The event will feature an appearance by Baltimore Raven's mascot Poe, a magic performance by Liberty High School science teacher Gary Fuhrman, and a documentary chronicling the band's beginnings created by Neil Beller, owner and president of Kit and Kaboodle Productions.
There will also be a silent auction with more than 50 items worth around $100 each, Dundore said.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $5 from http://www.jdcrockorchestra.org, or at the door for $8.
Dundore said JoeyDCares Rock Orchestra is looking for volunteers who want to help with the event or future events. For more information on volunteer opportunities email JoeyD@JDCRockOrchestra.org.