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Martha Lopez Joins National Concert Event to Raise Money for Disabled Children

Martha, a life-long musician, was inspired to partner with Kim Perlak and Ben Werdegar to raise money for disabled children in Iraq.

“Ben & I Play for Peace” began as a single concert produced by Concordia University professor Kim Perlak, but has since inspired multiple classical musicians to join forces to further the cause of 13-year-old Ben Werdegar. Ben is a guitarist from California who has pledged to raise $1 million in partnership with CNN Hero Brad Blauser to purchase wheelchairs for disabled children in Iraq.

Martha, a friend of Kim’s who teaches at the State College of Florida, closely followed the progress of this project and remembers, "Kim asked me if I would come out to Austin to see [the concert]. I just kept having the same thought, while checking fares on Southwest Airlines: "How will they keep me off the stage? I'll want to be a part of this!" That night, I couldn't sleep. And the next day, I found myself making phone calls to various venues in the area, and the Sarasota concert was conceived.”

At the same time, oboist Tenly Williams of the Mountain Music Duo decided to organize a Denver, Colorado branch of this series. On April 3, 2011 at 3pm, each city kicked off a “Ben & I Play for Peace” concert to raise money for Blauser’s organization and help Ben move towards his goal. Martha’s concert included many of her music students from the State College of Florida, and she sang in it as well. The Sarasota concert raised almost $1,000!

“I have been blessed over and over when the students involved in the concert pass me in the hallway with a huge grin on their face. It's almost as if we've all birthed a brotherhood through this project. None of us know Ben Werdegar personally. Nor do we know the folks out in Denver personally. However, we all are bound together in service through music.“