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Stay. Together.

On November 11, 2023, we honor veterans and the invisible wounds they carry from their time in service. Join us at the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton for this concert.

We invite you to submit your veterans - both with us and who have passed - to be included in the program.


Alec, younger brother of our artistic director and a third generation veteran, shares with us some thoughts about his life since his tour in Afghanistan with the US Marine Corps.

What has helped you since your tour?

Honestly, working for myself. I do woodworking and home improvement. When I'm trying to find a purpose or find that rewarding feeling is when I'm working for clients or doing woodworking, someone will bring an idea to me and I make it happen. Seeing someone's expression on their face when I'm done (with a project) is where I find the value.

How might a classical music concert be helpful for veterans struggling with mental health?

You can completely move someone by a combination of notes, rhythms. Regardless if it's classical music, if it's tailored to your audience, you can really move someone that way. I mean, look at scores for movie music and films.

Why not a whole program of patriotic music?

Well, I think patriotic music is - I wouldn't say "overplayed" - but if you can think of a term when society brings something that's trendy or popular...but in reality, it can be just because it's what people think they should do. I don't think patriotic music always does what it was intended to do.

So, what kind of music should we consider?

I don't know if it's music itself, versus the message or story you're trying to convey. Patriotic music is intended for a certain purpose, but there isn't really a story behind it. The story that's portrayed to people isn't a story that's lived every day, so it loses its luster. It can be any music, as long as the narrative is genuine.

What do you wish people knew about veteran mental health?

It's a constant, 365 days a year kind of struggle. The easiest way to truly, in my opinion, to support a veteran - is to treat them like a person. A five minute conversation at the gas station, you know, something like that. But that's mental health in general - treating people with kindness and compassion, following the golden rule.

What would you tell people to do after a concert or program like this?

Go home, love your family. Talk to a stranger. And listen. Just listen.


The moon gives you light,

And the bugles and the drums give you music,

And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,

My heart gives you love.

(Dirge for Two Veterans, Walt Whitman)

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