By Karen Morfitt
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Members of the Colorado Symphony are hosting a concert for a cause, a “Concert for Canines,” at the Hampden Hall in Englewood. About a year ago, several symphony members lost their dogs to cancer; Courtney Hershey Bress was one of them.
“Her name was Zen, and she was a beauty, she was,” Hershey Bress said with a smile. “Sometimes when she was a puppy she would go underneath (her harp), and I would have to say Zen Zen you have to move so I can put the harp down.”
The Golden Retriever died from a cancer Hershey Bress had never heard of until her friend and colleague, Jason Lichtenwalter, lost his own dog, Jack, to the same devastating disease.
“From the time that I found out something was wrong to the time I found out I would have to put him down was no more than 30 minutes,” he said.
Lichtenwalter knew he wanted to honor his friend.
After connecting with Hershey Bress and two others reeling from the same loss, it did not take long to figure how best to do that.
“The fact that we all know each other, and we all play instruments, I thought ‘Hey we got a concert going right there. Why don’t we turn that into something positive?’” he said.
A year later, 13 musicians, many of them fellow members of the Colorado Symphony, are dedicating their time and talent hosting a benefit concert.
All of the money raised will go to the Denver-based Morris Animal Foundation and its research into canine cancer.
Carol Borchert is the Director of Communications for the foundation, one of the largest nonprofits in the world.
“We know that at least six million dogs are diagnosed with cancer every year,” Borchert said.
While the concert will be all about helping future families avoid heartache, Hershey Bress and Lichtenwalter know they will be thinking about the past.
“Luckily we are all professional musicians so we know how to put a game face on. I have a feeling there may be a lot of tears backstage,” Hershey Bress said.
The concert is Oct. 7 at Hampden Hall at the Englewood Civic Center. It starts at 2:30 p.m. and tickets are $25.
Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.