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The City Journals

Upcoming Beat ALS benefit concert gives hope for a cure

Apr 09, 2018 04:53PM ● By Jennifer Gardiner

The Utah community comes together to create a Beatles benefit concert for those with Amyotrophic amyotrophic Lateral lateral Sclerosissclerosis, ALS. (Richard Caldwell/Beat ALS Benefit Facebook)

For music lovers, and especially Beatles fans, the Beat ALS benefit concert coming this summer is one you will not want to miss. For those who got chance to attend last year, you already know it is worth a repeat.  

It is getting close to that time of year when one man’s love of the Beatles and his passion to help raise awareness for ALS collide with the Beat ALS benefit concert. 

Taylorsville resident David Martin founded the organization and coined the “BeatALS” theme from both his intense love for the Beatles and his admiration for his friend Chris Clark, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, in March of 2016. Clark is the chair for Utah Valley University Theatre Department and the executive producer for Robert Redford’s Sundance Summer Theatre.

Having left his choir teaching job due to a vocal hemorrhage, Martin discovered he wanted to do something to help Chris and others who live with the devastating effects of ALS and something to continue his yearly tradition of putting on a musical production featuring music by the Beatles.

“When I taught choir in school, we used to put in a Beatles-themed production,” Martin said. “The Beatles are timeless; kids of all ages really enjoy the music and vibe they continue to give.”

The Beat ALS benefit concert was held at Cottonwood High School in May 2017. More than 1,000 people attended the event, which  helped raise nearly $10,000 for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the ALS Association in Denver, Colorado. 

Martin put together the first concert by reaching out to popular Utah performers such as GENTRI, Ryan Innes from “The Voice,” Defying Gravity Utah (an aerial acrobatics group) and Terence Hansen. After its success, Martin feels inspired to continue and grow the concert series 

Gregory Shack who is part of the Beat ALS team, said they decided to film the entire concert they had in May and turned the footage into a movie. 

“We are hopeful to be putting the video out on DVD within the coming months, along with an audio CD because the sound quality is amazing,” said Shack. “We had so much success, we have put together a team of people who will help drive our business model who are putting the finishing touches on potentially three to four shows.”

Martin said they are also getting some sound help from Terry Porter, who is well known for his sound work on “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,” “Fantasia,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin” and “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the witch and the Wardrobe.” He lives in Draper and is now part of the Technicolor at Paramount team.

The purpose of the benefit concert is to raise money to help fund the ALS Association and allow for more research to be done. Martin said the widespread campaign that came from the Bucket Challenge raised $115 million and a lot of awareness. The funding allowed for more research, and through that, they were able to find the gene that is associated to ALS. 

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge originally started in the sporting world and had been used with other causes in the past but the ALS challenge started in 2014 with a professional golfer named Chris Kennedy, who challenged his sister, Jeanette Senerchia, in Pelham, New York. Senerchia’s husband, Anthony, has ALS.

The challenge encourages nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads and then nominating others to do the same. A common stipulation is that nominated participants have 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a charitable financial donation. The challenge was picked back up in the summer of 2015 and the summer of 2016; people were still doing it in the summer of 2017.

The group is planning to hold the next Beat ALS concert mid-August, but the dates have not been solidified. Continue to check in on their website for confirmed concert dates, locations and times.

To find out more about the Beat ALS benefit concert, including dates and venues, or to find out more about how you can help, you can visit