Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and the Charlie Thomas Drifters to Perform at Valentines for Veterans Concert

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Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and the Charlie Thomas Drifters will be performing during the 2nd Annual Valentines for Veterans Concert: A Veterans Appreciation & Welcome Home Celebration at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall on Saturday, February 12, 2011, at 1 p.m.

The Valentines for Veterans Concert is a wonderful opportunity for the local community to come together and show their appreciation for the dedicated men and women who served our country in uniform.

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and the Charlie Thomas Drifters will be performing during the 2nd Annual Valentines for Veterans Concert: A Veterans Appreciation & Welcome Home Celebration at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall on Saturday, February 12, 2011, at 1 p.m. Sponsored by the Veterans Affairs (VA) Maryland Health Care System, Help Hospitalized Veterans, and the Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary & Post 117, the concert is being held as part of National Salute to Veterans Patients Week, an annual recognition throughout the Department of Veterans Affairs to honor the men and women who served this country in uniform.

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, among the most successful Motown groups from the 1960s, developed a harder, R&B sound than others on the roster that was typified by songs such as “Heat Wave,” “Jimmy Mack,” and “Nowhere to Run” and their signature song, “Dancing in the Street.” Recording tunes in a variety of styles, including doo-wop, R&B, pop, blues, rock and soul, the group charted more than 26 hits during a nearly decade long run. Ten of their songs reached the Top Ten of the Billboard R&B singles chart, including two R&B number one hits. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Martha Reeves and the Vandellas at number 96 on their list of 100 greatest artists of all time. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

The Charlie Thomas Drifters, another long-lived, New York doo-wop/R&B vocal group, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as “The Original Drifters” in 1998 and again in 2000 as “Ben. E. King and The Drifters.” When the "Five Crowns" appeared as an opening act at the Apollo Theater in the late ‘50’s, it was Charlie Thomas’ voice that George Treadwell heard before he fired his famous group, The Drifters. He hastily recruited "The Crowns" to become the new “Drifters.” The first release from the new Drifters was a song called "There Goes My Baby," which rose to number two on the pop charts in 1959. Known for tunes such as “Under the Boardwalk,” “This Magic Moment,” “Room Full of Tears,” and “Save the Last Dance For Me,” the group found great success in the United States and in the United Kingdom. Despite seemingly endless personnel changes, more than 13 of the group’s recordings hit the Top Ten, with “Under the Boardwalk” charting at number four in 1964. The remaining original Drifters—Ben. E. King and Charlie Thomas—continue to tour the world, performing their hits. As recently as 2000, the group was inducted in the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. Thomas also received the Rhythm and Blues Award in 1999 for lifetime achievement and was inducted in the Vocal Hall of Fame in 2000. Today's group includes Charlie Thomas, Jerone Manning, Steven Brown, and Louis Bailey.

The concert is part of the weeklong National Salute celebration to honor veterans and promote volunteerism at VA medical centers and outpatient clinics throughout the country. Timed to coincide with Valentine's Day, the National Salute celebration connects the holiday’s sentiments of caring and sharing to expressing honor and appreciation to Veterans.

“It’s very exciting for us to bring these two nationally recognized groups to Baltimore to honor the sacrifices of our nation’s Veterans and to encourage the community at large to volunteer at VA medical centers and outpatient clinics throughout the state,” said Dennis H. Smith, director of the VA Maryland Health Care System. “The Valentines for Veterans Concert is also a wonderful opportunity for the local community to come together and show their appreciation for the dedicated men and women who served our country in uniform--many of whom will be in attendance during the concert.”

In addition to honoring Maryland’s Veterans recently returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and recognizing Veterans from all previous wars and conflicts, the event will provide information about VA health care services and volunteer opportunities. Before and after the concert, VA Maryland Health Care System staff members will be available in the lobby of the Meyerhoff to provide information about VA health care eligibility and enrollment, and to assist community members interested volunteering.

A reception, which begins at 1 p.m. and is open to all concert attendees, will precede the Valentines for Veterans Concert in the Meyerhoff lobby. The concert, which begins at 2 p.m., will include several tributes to Maryland’s Veterans. Tickets for both the reception and the concert are required and can be obtained through the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall Box Office starting January 5, 2011, at (410) 783-8000. All tickets are general admission and free of charge. For more information about the concert or to learn about volunteer opportunities throughout the VA Maryland Health Care System, please visit http://www.maryland.va.gov or call 1-800-463-6295, extension 7101.

The VA Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS) provides a broad spectrum of medical, surgical, rehabilitative, mental health and outpatient care to Veterans at two medical centers, one community living & rehabilitation center and five outpatient clinics located throughout the state. More than 52,000 Veterans from various generations receive care from the VAHMCS annually. Nationally recognized for its state-of-the-art technology and quality patient care, the VAMHCS is proud of its reputation as a leader in Veterans’ health care, research and education. It costs nothing for Veterans to enroll for health care with the VA Maryland Health Care System and it could be one of the more important things a Veteran can do. For information about VA health care eligibility and enrollment or how to apply for a VA medical care hardship to avoid future copayments for VA health care, interested Veterans are urged to call the Enrollment Center for the VA Maryland Health Care System, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-463-6295, ext. 7324 or visit http://www.maryland.va.gov.

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