SOURCE: Voices of a Grateful Nation

October 15, 2009 08:31 ET

Voices of a Grateful Nation Assembles Largest Guitar Ensemble at Luckenbach, Texas Breaking Guinness World Record

1867 Guitarists Played Popular Songs in Unison to Raise Funds Benefiting Military Veterans Suffering From Traumatic Brain Injuries

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwire - October 15, 2009) - Voices of a Grateful Nation (www.voicesofagratefulnation.org), a non-profit organization that helps veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) through its Sound Healing Project, announced today that the music festival it held on August 23rd in Luckenbach, Texas that united 1867 guitarists from across the country, was officially declared by Guinness World Records as the largest guitar ensemble in the world. The record-breaking achievement surpassed the previous record of 1802 guitarists established in Germany in 2007.

"Breaking a Guinness World Record is a major accomplishment, but the real objective for this event was to drive awareness for our veterans who are suffering with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and what all of us can do to help them," said Charles Gallagher, Co-Founder of Voices of a Grateful Nation. "It is amazing how much support we've received from all guitarists who showed up to play including country music stars and individuals traveling thousands of miles away just to be part of this historic achievement."

The Luckenbach event dubbed as "Pickin' for the Record" is part of Voices of a Grateful Nation's "Sound Healing" program, which provides combat veterans diagnosed with TBI guitar lessons and music therapy as part of their recovery and rehabilitation. Many of the veterans that Voices of a Grateful Nation helps through this program recently returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. TBI is an injury to the brain caused by an external force such as an explosion or sudden impact. Unlike other injuries, TBI is often permanent and disabling.

Many of the guitarists who came to the event were veterans themselves. Army Sgt. Erika VanDenBerg, for example, who is receiving therapy through Voices of a Grateful Nation's Sound Healing program, said, "If you talked to me about three months ago, I probably could have not put a sentence together." VanDenBerg is suffering from brain trauma after an improvised explosive device (IED) went off while escorting a convoy.

Prominent musicians, Roger Creager, Monte Montgomery, and Jimmy LaFave, led record-breaking songs "Luckenbach Texas - Back to the Basics of Love" and "This Land is Your Land." They were joined by many other recording artists who have donated their time and talents to record and produce the CD series, "Voices of a Grateful Nation Volume One" and "Volume Two." These are the first two releases in the CD library series of songs written and recorded to raise awareness regarding TBI and to raise funds for the Sound Healing Program. Information on the CDs, the Sound Healing Program and donations can be found at: http://www.voicesofagratefulnation.org.

[Note to media: hi-res images available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/voices4vets; b-roll available upon request]

About Voices of a Grateful Nation:

Voices of a Grateful Nation, a non-profit organization [501(c)(3)] that helps veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) through its sound healing project, incorporates the power of music and popular culture to mobilize our country's compassionate spirit, intellectual resources, and entrepreneurial skills to provide music therapy to TBI victims, and to ensure that our homecoming veterans and their families have quick and easy access to psychological counseling and crisis management services.

For more information, please visit: http://www.voicesofagratefulnation.org

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