Change Happens….

Change happens…I get it…but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Six years ago my mom and I had a meeting with Dave at our local Starbucks.

When I met Dave I was nine years old and I was on crutches because I had dislocated my knee (again). We briefly talked about my latest injury and then started talking about Celebrate Virginia Live (CVL) and its benefactor Project 324.

Dave created Project 324 and wanted to talk to me about being involved. I told him how much music means to me. Throughout my medical journey music has been my constant. It cheers me up, it pushes me, it comforts me, and it inspires me. I enjoyed listening to him talk about his ideas for Project 324, and how he wanted to bring art and music together to enrich our local community and beyond. His dream quickly became mine, and I brought my mom along for the ride.

From the first day I stepped foot on the field at CVL, I was welcomed into the CVL family. Through the years, I went from being the little girl who introduced the National Anthem Singers and Young Marine Color Guard, to the young lady who was the face of Project 324 and an expert golf cart driver.

I have always loved lending my voice to my medical charities, especially Children’s Hospital Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network of Richmond. Through Project 324 I had an opportunity to blend my love of giving back to my medical community and the artist community.

CVL was my second home. There I was just “Megs” the Jr. Officer in Command. I was not Megan “who has medical challenges”. I was never seen as different. I was included in everything from setting up to shutting down and all the craziness in between. I have literally grown up on that field.

I learned so much from my CVL family. Each year I was included in more and more. My favorite was the community outreach. We held a Music Farm to collect used instruments to refurbish them and gave them back to the local schools, we sponsored music therapy camps for children who had lost a loved one, we upgraded patrons “to make someone’s summer”, we held logo contests, gave back to local schools, promoted local voice talent searches, but most importantly I loved working with the radio stations to promote local artists.

Project 324 provided a venue for local artists to showcase their talent. Project 324 gave opportunities to kids, teenagers, young adults, and community music group’s time on stage to sing our National Anthem.

Project 324 had an awesome internship program. Our interns have gone on to do some amazing things. They now hold jobs as event coordinators, community relations assistants, social media consultants and public relations.

This week has been bittersweet for me. CVL has been renamed to Celebrate Virginia After Hours (CVAH) and is under new management. Change is hard, but I am happy our community still has concerts in their back yard.

I will miss the joy and excitement of transforming a field into a concert venue. I will miss the anticipation as the gates open for that first show. I will miss the high fives and sighs of relief when the headliner takes the stage, but most of all I will miss my CVL family.

Dave, Peter, Nate, Dawn, Ray, Kelly, Emma, Ashleigh, Savannah, Hayley, Fran, (all the Matt’s), Christal, Jeremy, Edwin, Tiffany, Thunder Crew, DJ 2 Much, Sharon, WFLS, and everyone I have missed. Thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for always being there. Thank you for never treating me different. Thank you for loving me and my family. Change may happen, but you will always be a constant in my life.

As Dave would say….the show must go on

As Peter would say….that’s a wrap

Love, Megs

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I lived it in color – CVL Season is underway

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What a wild weekend at Celebrate Virginia Live. I love the start of concert season. It is hard to believe how much goes into preparing the venue. I still get chills when I leave the site and all we have is a piece of land and then mom turns the corner the next day and the stage is up.

I hope everyone enjoyed the Jamey Johnson show. It was fun to open the show with my new friend Christal Blue from Thunder 104.5 and Mark Clifford. This year I will be also sharing the stage with Jessica and Steve from 93.3 WFLS.

I love talking about Project 324. Our mission is to help the ARTS flourish. We opened the show with Emma Zinck and the Quantico Young Marines. Emma is the reigning WFLS 2014 Country Idol. She is a rising star. She is also a Celebrate Virginia Live Intern. Emma is a senior at Mountainview High school in Stafford. She is incredible and you will be seeing more of Emma this season.

Montgomery Gentry will be here in the ‘Burg in less than 24 hours.  Tomorrow is Military Appreciation and First Responder Day. If you purchase one general admission ticket you will get one free.

I started something new this year called…”Make Someone’s Summer” sponsored by Project 324. After the National Anthem and before the opening act I will be walking around looking for two lucky people to be upgraded. It could be you 🙂

See you at the show..

Megan

Rock My ‘Burg

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Back in March I made my first post of the 2013 Celebrate Virginia Live concert series. I announced how exciting it was going to be to have Bret Michaels join us here in Fredericksburg. I never realized how excited my MOM would be for Bret Michaels to be here in Fredericksburg. I know Bret from Rock My RV. On my “Bucket List” one of my dreams is to vacation out West on a tricked out RV. It is my dad’s dream too.

Well my mom remembers Bret from her teenage years. Apparently she has not forgotten she never got to see Poison in concert in 1987. I told her if I had a DeLorean I would take her “Back to the Future”. For months she has been exposing me to the music of her generation. I am just hoping she does not show up tomorrow night with teased up hair and fluorescent clothing. You should see some of those pictures from the 80s…WOW!

I really like Bret Michaels the artist and the person. He is very charitable. He raises awareness for pets and people. If you have not had a chance to check out his “Life Rocks Foundation” please take the time and follow the link. Every summer I attend a medical camp in Charlottesville, VA called Camp Holiday Trails. Many of my friends at camp have diabetes. This camp is a place for us to go for two weeks to be with a group of people who know what it is like to take medication everyday. For two weeks we can be ourselves and are not defined by our challenges. Through Bret’s foundation he sends kids with diabetes to camps like mine. His Foundation also supports kids with cancer, Wounded Warriors, and pet charities.

I tried to convince my parents to buy an old RV and see if we could get Bret to Rock it while he was here, but that didn’t happen. I don’t have any tattoos, but maybe we can compare heart surgery scars.

I hope you all will come on out and enjoy a night of music in the ‘burg. The weather will be great and the food is always so good. Bring your kids, your neighbors kids, friends of your kids….just grab a blanket and some chairs and make it a fun family night. Tickets are available on line and at the doors. Gates open at 6:00pm.

See you at the show…

Megs

Look who is coming the the ‘burg – Trace Adkins

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I am looking forward to the Trace Adkins concert tomorrow night. The first time I heard “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” I just giggled.That song makes me want to dance. When my Pop Pop in Florida heard Trace was coming to Celebrate Virginia Live he was sad he could not be here. He is a HUGE fan. Not only does he love his music he enjoyed watching him on The Celebrity Apprentice. My Pop can no longer travel, but loves hearing about all my charity work and seeing the pictures.

I am dedicating this concert and blog post to him.

A year and half ago my Pop suffered a series of strokes and has had a long recovery. He is a fighter and that is where I get a lot of my determination. Both my grandma and pop have faced serious medical challenges. When I heard Trace’s new song ‘If The Sun Comes Up” from his new album Love Will, I cried. I could picture my grandma and pop saying those words to me. It is amazing how much a song can move you.

Last year when my brother was graduating high school, my mom must have listened to “You’re Gonna Miss This” and “Then They Do” a thousand times by Trace Adkins. It is because of her I have learned to listen and love all types of music.

In the song “If The Sun Comes Up” there is a line “Please find something you can put your heart into”. That line says it all. When you go through something traumatic in your life it changes you. Through my medical journey I found I had a voice to make a difference. I love bringing awareness to charities that speak to me. Trace Adkins feels the same way about the American Red Cross. When he lost his home to a fire, they were there for his family. He raised over $600,000 for the American Red Cross on the Celebrity Apprentice. This is why “Ladies Love Country Boys”.

I will see you tomorrow at Celebrate Virginia Live. Gates open at 5:30pm. I will be onstage to open the show with my friends from Thunder 104.5, Melanie Skahen singing the National Anthem and the Young Marines Color Guard. Cody Purvis will take the stage at 6:00pm. Make sure you bring a friend, neighbor, or family member. Tickets are available online or at Legends.

Love,

Megs

“Whether on stage, over the airwaves, or on film – Project 324 is about bringing the arts and the community together”

Dream Big…

I was excited to find out Scotty McCreery and I have a few things in common. He is from North Carolina; I have been to North Carolina. He toured with The Band Perry and I toured their tour bus. He sang on stage with Tim McGraw and I danced on stage with Tim McGraw. His dreams came true on American Idol, and I live a dream every weekend getting on stage at Celebrate Virginia Live.

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Seriously though…what I love about Scotty is we both are tenacious. Success at anything does not happen over night. You need to work hard. Scotty wanted to sing. He joined a vocal ensemble and performed at local events. He became the youngest winner of American Idol and has a Guinness World Records Book entry for being the youngest male to enter the U.S. album charts as number one.

I am not a quitter. I might have obstacles that prevent me from doing some things, but I find away to adapt and overcome. I have a tendency to wear down my doctors and eventually they allow me to try things with modifications.

I have lots of dreams. I want to be an actress, model, singer, talk show host, CIA Agent, and veterinarian. The most important thing is to be determined and dedicated. Follow those dreams.

For the last couple of weeks we have showcased a child singer each week at CVL to perform the National Anthem. This is one of the hardest songs to sing live. These kids have a dream. They want to be performing on stage one day professionally. Through Project 324 we give them an opportunity to experience singing on stage in front of a crowd. Hopefully that moment will drive the passion for them to keep working towards their dreams. You never know they could someday be the next “American Idol”.

Never let go of your dreams, even if they don’t come easy. Work hard and be determined. It will be worth it in the end.

I can’t wait to welcome Scotty McCreery this weekend to Celebrate Virginia Live Pancho Villa Pavillion. I hope we get a chance to talk. Maybe he will allow me to take him for a spin on the golf cart. I have only run over a few toes. I am doing much better now. I should challenge him to a bull ride.

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I hope you will join me this weekend. We always have a great time. Tickets are available online and at Legends. Oh! and by the way…Legends makes a killer pasta primavera.

Love,

Megs

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”.

-Eleanor Roosevelt

Healing Through Music…

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I find it very exciting waiting to see what artists will be coming to Celebrate Virginia Live. I am always offering up “my” choices to the team. I also know a ton of things must happen behind the scenes to bring an artist to Fredericksburg.

A few weeks ago when Hank William Jr. was announced I started my research. I know I had heard the name, but I wasn’t exactly sure I knew who he was. Then my mom said, “He sang ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL the Sunday night theme”. Yes, she actually tried to sound like the theme song. I looked at her with the “ok” look. Then my brother chimed in and said, “Megan, he sings Family Tradition”. Well why didn’t they say that first. I know that song.  The more I researched and heard his music, the more inspired I became to write my post.

I love music. I love hearing all genres. I also love the way music makes me feel. Music has played a big part in my life. Each step of my medical journey different songs speak to me. Mom calls them my “theme songs”. Music has a big influence on my life. The more I read about the artist I find they also had life stories that influence who they are, where they have been, and where they are going.

When Hank Williams Jr. was 26 his life was turned upside down when he was seriously injured in a mountain climbing accident. Two years and nine major surgeries later, Hank Williams Jr. emerged with a new look consisting of a full beard, cowboy hat, and dark glasses.

I could really identify with what it feels like to recover from a medical obstacle. I spent three years recovering from my stroke. Sometimes it seems like you just want to give up. Hank Williams Jr. could have decided to just fade away, but he took the time to heal and came back stronger proving a “Country Boy Can Survive”.

I hope you will come out and join us July 20th as we welcome Hank Williams Jr. to Celebrate Virginia Live. Tickets are available online at Legends Sports Grille.

Love.

Megs

“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”

― Albert Einstein

Lights, Camera, Action

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If you have met me you know I love giving back. My charities fill my heart. I am so thankful to be apart of Project 324 the Official Charity of Celebrate Virginia Live.  Project 324 is about bringing the arts and the community together, whether on stage, over the airwaves, or on film, we ensure that artistic and cultural drive is available, accessible, enjoyed, and preserved.

This past concert I was proud to introduce Jasmine Sen an 8 year old from M&S Studio who sang the National Anthem along with the Quantico Young Marines Color Guard. They were awesome. Jasmine has an amazing voice. I fell in love with the stage when I was 8. I also was a student at M&S Studio. I was taking dance classes to strengthen my body after my stroke. What started as therapy turned into a passion. Nothing is more exciting to me than being on stage and looking out into the crowd. When the lights hit me I am ready to do my thing. I encourage everyone to embrace the arts. If you have a secret talent, tap into it. You will be amazed how it will make you feel.

Our next concert is this Saturday, July 20th. Hank Williams Jr will be in town. We have some awesome opening acts. Bring a blanket or a chair and come on out. Tickets are going fast. Don’t miss another fantastic night in the ‘Burg.

See you on stage,

Megs

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.”

-Emile Zola