Benefit concert to support Veterans Honor Park of Lancaster County

By on March 2, 2016

Will be located next to Lititz Public Library

The Ephrata American Legion Cloister Post 429 will be rockin’ like it’s 1964 on April 17.

The Velaires, central Pennsylvania’s iconic 1960s classic rock ‘n roll band, will be pulling out all the stops to honor Lancaster County’s countless military veterans — past, present and future. Proceeds will benefit the Veterans Honor Park of Lancaster County.

Sponsored by the Benecon Group and presented jointly by the Veterans Honor Park of Lancaster County and the Winters Leadership Memorial Committee, the concert kicks off at 3 p.m. and plays through 7 p.m. The Ephrata American Legion is located at 300 Cocalico Drive, Ephrata.

The entire Ephrata Legion is reserved for the event, including the restaurant. A buffet and beverages will be available for purchase from the Legion kitchen and bar. Seating and tables are first come, first served and there will be plenty of room on the dance floor to Twist, Pony and do the Locomotion.

 

The Velaires at the 1966 Ephrata Fair Parade. (Left to right) Jon “Ace” Essman (drummer from Colorado, not an original member), Dennis Sweigart, Tom Hobbins, and Terry Gehman.

The Velaires at the 1966 Ephrata Fair Parade. (Left to right) Jon “Ace” Essman (drummer from Colorado, not an original member), Dennis Sweigart, Tom Hobbins, and Terry Gehman.

 

 

Extended vacation

After an “extended vacation” for educations, families and careers that started in 1966, the Velaires re-grouped last fall for what was supposed to be a one-shot gig.

“Most of us went to Ephrata High School,” says sax player and keyboardist Terry Gehman, a ‘65 Ephrata grad. “So we thought it would be fun to get the group back together for our 50th high school reunion in 2015, and that would be it. But we had such a good time — and so did the audience — that we thought we’d just keep at it for a while.”

The idea to perform a benefit concert for the Veterans Park of Lancaster County came straight from lead guitarist/vocalist Tom Hobbins, Ephrata ‘64, a man intimately familiar with the U.S. military.

A retired Air Force Four-Star General, Hobbins most recently served as Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe with responsibility for Air Force activities in an area spanning three continents, covering 20-million square miles and holding one-fourth of the world’s population. A command pilot, Hobbins retired with more than 5,100 flying hours, primarily in fighter aircraft.

“We’re hoping that we get a big turnout, not just from our fans from ‘way back when,’ but from veterans of all ages, and those who want to honor them,” Hobbins says, adding, “I can’t think of a better cause than the Veterans Honor Park of Lancaster County.”

Gehman and Hobbins are joined by fellow Ephrata High grads Dennis Sweigart, ‘65, on guitar and lead vocals’ and Bill Jobes, ‘64, on bass and vocals. Drummer Jamie Hess is a ‘66 Columbia High School alum.

Gehman and Sweigart kept in contact over the years, playing together in various groups and working as teachers in the Conestoga Valley School District. For 33 years, Gehman was CV band director and music teacher, and ran an entertainment management business. Sweigart’s Conestoga Valley career spanned 35 years as a visual arts teacher, with a music career on the side.

“We all kept up our interest in music,” adds Jobes, who pursued a career as a photojournalist and media producer in the Philadelphia area.

Hess is a retired graphic designer who has continued to play drums in various bands through the years.

“It’s a privilege and a pleasure to be helping out on a project like this to honor veterans,” Hess says.

 

 (Front, left to right) Terry Gehman and Jamie Hess. (Back, l-r) Bill Jobes, Tom Hobbins, and Denny Sweigart.


(Front, left to right) Terry Gehman and Jamie Hess. (Back, l-r) Bill Jobes, Tom Hobbins, and Denny Sweigart.

 

33,000 Lancaster County vets

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 33,000 military veterans call Lancaster County home, from World War II up to the present Global War on Terror.

The Veterans Honor Park of Lancaster County is a tribute to every generation of warriors in every branch of the United States military — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines. Planned to be built on 2.4 donated acres in Warwick Township, the project is a joint venture with Lititz Public Library and local government. Learn more about the Park at vetshonorparklanco.org.

Advanced tickets for The Velaires for Veterans concert cost $15 and can be purchased online at velairesforveterans.eventbrite.com. Advanced tickets can also be purchased at the Legion, at the above address, or at Ephrata VFW Post 3376, 141 S. State St. Tickets cost $20 at the door.

 

Sponsorship opportunities

Event sponsors are being sought for the Velaires for Veterans concert, set for the Ephrata American Legion on April 17. Proceeds will benefit the Veterans Honor Park of Lancaster County.

Sponsorships and benefits available include:

Platinum Sponsor ($5,000): Listed as sponsor on our website with hyperlink. Recognized as sponsor on all pre-event promotional materials including posters and online registration system. Top recognition on on the sponsor sign at the event (with logo). Sponsorship recognized on social media and website leading up to event. Thanked during event introductions, plus twenty five (25) tickets to the event.

Diamond Sponsor ($2,500): Listed as sponsor on the website. Recognized as sponsor on all pre-event promotional materials, including posters and online registration system. Recognized on social media a website leading up to event. Listed on sponsor sign at event (with logo). Thanked during event introductions, plus ten (10) tickets to the event.

Gold Sponsor ($1,000): Listed on sponsor sign at event (with logo), Signed copy of Larry Alexander’s book “Biggest Brother,” Winters Leadership Memorial Baseball cap, plus six (6) tickets to the event.

Silver Sponsor ($500): Listed on sponsor sign at event (name only), plus four (4) tickets to the event.

Bronze Sponsor ($250): Listed on sponsor sign at the event (name only), plus one (1) ticket to the event.

Victory Sponsor ($300): Available only to veterans organizations. Sponsor at the “Victory” level and receive twenty (20) tickets to the event to sell or give away to organization members, plus be listed on special Victory Sponsor Sign at the event

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Rebecca Gallagher at 733-6094 or Rgallagher@Smithoninn.com.

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