After 2 COVID deaths, Alexandria Harmonizers join ACT fundraiser

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews ACT for Alexandria (Part 1)

The pandemic has devastated local arts groups with a tragic loss of life and funds.

Two current or former members of the Alexandria Harmonizers in Virginia have died of COVID-19 this year, including active member Brian Miller and alumni Bob Wachter.

“Brian Miller actually passed away pretty early on in the pandemic, I believe it was April,” Executive Director Randall Eliason told WTOP. “He was an active singer on the risers and only 52 years old, a pretty remarkable guy because he was legally blind.”

To help boost spirits and budgets, the Alexandria Arts Alliance is gathering dozens of local arts groups to hold the ACT for Alexandria fundraiser this Saturday at 7 p.m.

“We got together with a lot of groups … at the end of summer to brainstorm ideas of how we might fundraise together do something collaboratively,” Alexandria Arts Alliance President Melinda Kernc told WTOP. “Many of us really can’t perform right now. … Our seasons were going to usually be starting in September and October.”

The event will include video vignettes from 23 Alexandria-based artists and arts organizations across disciplines of music, dance, theater, film and visual arts.

“Each one submitted a 90-second to two-minute video of either past performances, showing exhibitions or classes [and] what they’ve been doing since COVID,” Kernc said. “By participating and putting their video in, all the money that we raise from the event, we are going to split evenly between all of the groups that are involved.”

Indeed, 100% of proceeds will benefit the following organizations:

  • Alexandria Choral Society
  • Alexandria Citizens Band
  • Alexandria Film Festival
  • Alexandria Harmonizers
  • Alexandria Singers
  • Alexandria Symphony Orchestra
  • Art on the Avenue
  • Arts on the Horizon
  • ArtSpire VA
  • Brave Spirits
  • Del Ray Artisans
  • Eclipse Chamber Orchestra
  • Fantastical Glass
  • Karen Fitzgerald Art
  • Lisa Schumaier
  • Local Motion Project
  • Metropolitan School of the Arts
  • MetroStage
  • QuinTango
  • The Art League
  • UpCycle Creative Reuse Center
  • Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association
  • Yellow Door Concert Series

“We were for our part trying to give a little flavor of performance, since none of us can perform live,” Eliason said. “So, we put together a little video that contains a tape of one of our recent performances from our last fall show, along with our artistic director speaking a little bit about the challenges that we and other arts groups are facing.”

You can also expect special guest appearances from Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson and a certain “Saturday Night Live” cast member whose identity remains a secret.

“This person actually grew up in Alexandria, so there was an interest there to acknowledge … the importance of the city and how it affected this person’s life, so he or she will talk a little bit more about it during the program,” Kernc said.

Homegrown Restaurant Group will donate 10% from all take-out orders mentioning ACT 4 #ArtsALX on the evening of the event. That includes Holy Cow, Pork Barrel BBQ, The Sushi Bar, Sweet Fire Donna’s, Tequila & Taco, and Whiskey & Oyster.

Watch the livestream on Facebook. Donations are welcome online.

Listen to our full conversation here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews ACT for Alexandria (Part 2)



Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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