A fundraiser for the Veterans of Foreign Wars will take place on Veterans Day, featuring performer Vanessa Carr, center.

A fundraiser for the Veterans of Foreign Wars will take place on Veterans Day, featuring performer Vanessa Carr, center.

Photo provided by Vanessa Carr

Troy concert to raise funds for local veterans

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published November 8, 2023


TROY — Those looking to support veterans this Veterans Day in Troy can do so in style with a fun concert benefiting a local Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

Vanessa Carr is a vocalist and entertainer as well as the co-founder of the Joie de V nonprofit, which is hosting the event. She said that although the nonprofit is still new, they are hoping to make a big impact on the community with Veterans Day being the perfect opportunity to do so.

“We are kind of brand new. We kicked off with an event last December. This will be our second event. Last year was a holiday show at the Troy Community Center. This year will have music, predominantly Broadway, as well as dancers,” explained Carr. “Our first concert was just to introduce our charity to the community. This year, our mission is to put on benefit concerts through sponsors, tickets and donations. We will send our donations to VFW Hall 6250. We went with veterans this time because of Veterans Day being in November.”

The concert, titled “Broadway and Beyond,” will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at First Evangelical Community Church in Troy, 3193 Rochester Road. Tickets cost $20 per person. Those interested can buy tickets at the door or online at www.joiedev.org. They also can email info@joiedev.org for more information.

VFW Hall 6250 shares its space in Sterling Heights with American Legion Post 326. Stephen Bilan, the adjutant-quartermaster of the VFW post, said he was excited to work with Carr on the fundraiser.

“Obviously, Veterans Day is very special to us,” he remarked. “Memorial Day is even more so, since that honors those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, but Veterans Day honors those veterans who are still among us, so a fundraiser to help support them is very meaningful.”

Carr, who has performed at numerous local venues such as Eddie V’s restaurant, the Troy Community Center and Troy Daze, will sing several popular Broadway songs and other standards. The featured performer will be Xin Guo, a Chinese folk singer. Accompanying dance groups will include Dance Class Inc., the Michigan Chinese Folk Dance Group, and the members of the J.Z. Dance Studio.

“My cofounder, Lou De Gennaro, will present the check at the start of the show to the VFW hall. We also will do a couple of songs in honor of our veterans in attendance,” said Carr. “People will enter for a 2 p.m. matinee show. We love the hall. It will be about an hour and 45 minute performance. Our guest performer, Xin Guo, will kick us off alongside some dancers and sing some Chinese folk songs. I will continue the performance with some Broadway shows, some standards like ‘Funny Girl,’ ‘Les Misérables,’ and some music from ‘West Side Story.’”

The funds will allow the VFW to pay for numerous programs it runs to aid veterans with various needs.

“We’re now in the process of helping a couple of veterans, one is a Vietnam veteran with (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease),” Bilan said. “He is behind with many bills, so we are helping him with his utilities. Some others are unable to work because of ailments. We are helping them manage things like bills or groceries. We will help veterans obtain an electric scooter. We also have some scholarships for veterans or their children. We also help pay for memorial services for comrades who have passed. We’ll do flag folding ceremonies and flag burning ceremonies for those who want to retire their flags. We’ll even put care packages together for those currently in the service. That’s something we’ve started doing again recently, since the pandemic.”

Joie de V’s next event will take place in Clinton Township this winter.

“Our next event will be at the Stray Cat Lounge in Clinton Township,” said Carr. “It’s called ‘Teacher’s Pet,’ and it pairs at-risk youth with dogs that have had trouble getting adopted. This teaches the kids and prepares the dogs for adoption. It fulfills two of our core missions at once: helping children and animals.”

More information is available at www.joiedev.org.

The event organizers are hoping the public will turn out to support something that is enjoyable and beneficial to a great many veterans.

“It’s a very worthy cause that people can help support,” said Bilan. “There are veterans out here who have disabilities or have trouble functioning every day. Some need help getting to medical appointments or help with utilities or groceries. For that individual to have an organization to help them means a lot. Many are not eager to promote these challenges, and working with other veterans can be easier for them.”

“When you get there, you will have a wonderfully entertaining experience,” added Carr. “You also will be supporting a good cause. It will be a festive afternoon, and you will leave satisfied and entertained.”