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Salvation Army Musician Completes Mission to Play 36 Consecutive Hours of Music at a Red Kettle

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Released 14 November 2011

simsSalvation Army Musician Completes Mission to Play 36 Consecutive Hours of Music at a Red Kettle 

Matt Sims, Music Director for The Salvation Army Central Virginia, wanted a way to kickstart the Red Kettle Campaign, so he thought playing his Euphonium just might do the trick.

He gave himself a goal to do something no other Salvation Army musician had accomplished, or even attempted.

Sims wanted to play music at a Red Kettle for 36 consecutive hours.

Sims began his quest at 9am on Friday, November 11th when he played his first song, ‘Joy to the World," and he played through the morning, the afternoon, the evening and well into the overnight hours.

"Around 4 or 5 am on Saturday, it was a test of my resolve to continue the effort. I was cold. Sore. Exhausted. With the encouragement of some wonderful Salvation Army staff and fellow musicians I pulled through," said Sims.

As the sun rose on November 12th, Sims kept playing.

"I had never been so happy to see the sun rise as I was that morning."

As the morning turned to early afternoon and eventually the evening, Sims kept playing, at one point, even providing accompaniment to a few soldiers from the United States Army who donated to his Red Kettle.

"I asked them if they would sing as I played their song," said Sims.

"It was those moments that kept me going, seeing all the people come out to support not only me, but The Salvation Army. It was inspiring."

When the music stopped at 9pm on Saturday evening; an amazing 36 hours after it had began; Sims had raised $2,275.58, played through his song book of 130 songs at least 24 times, and blown an estimated 75,000 notes into his Euphonium.

Sims also managed to provide Christmas spirit to countless individuals.

"So many people came out to see me, to see for themselves what I was attempting to do, and they kept telling me I was inspiring them. What they don't know is they inspired me to finish my 36 hours."

The 36 hours of music may have ended, but donations can still be made to his efforts through an Online Red Kettle; www.onlineredkettle.org/36hours.

The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign began in 1891 by Captain Joseph McFee of San Francisco as a way to raise funds to provide Christmas dinner to the area's poor.  He remembered collection pots from his days as a sailor and quickly secured permission to place pots throughout the city, thus launching a tradition that spread not only throughout the United States, but around the world, and has since grown to become The Salvation Army's largest yearly fundraiser.


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