Luke Holwerda, together with help of Jon Underhill (the organizer of the UK Red Special Meetup), recently hosted the US arm of the Red Special meet-up in his home town of Phoenix, Arizona.
“Apart from being a fun and positive event, we actually managed to do a bit of good, as well, and raised $1,000 for the Save Me Trust.
“I had just typed up the following synopsis of the day and how it led to that donation, for inclusion of the Save Me newsletter and now share with BrianMay.com team as well. We took a ton of photos, as you can imagine, but I attached a few of my favorites in case there’s room for a post. Just wanted to share a bit of positive news! Thanks! “
On Saturday, March 26th, in sunny and 97ºF Phoenix, Arizona, the second-ever “U.S. Red Special Meet-up” took place to celebrate the impact Brian May continues to have on aspiring musicians, in every stage of their musical journeys. The center point of the meet-up was the incredible story behind the iconic homemade guitar, lovingly crafted by an intrepid Brian and his enigmatic father, Harold. How an ambitious young man’s musical aspirations paired with his father’s derring-do attitude where “anything worth doing is worth overdoing” brought to life such a unique piece of musical history gathers enthusiasts from around the world to share in mutual appreciation and fellowship… and attempts to unlock Brian’s tonal secrets!
All the attendees were vaccinated and absolutely thrilled to be each other’s company, most meeting one another for the first time that day. Many people donated their time, money and goods to make the event even easier for the young folks involved. In the spirit of all that goodwill, the attendees got together and decided to pay it forward and collected money to make a donation to the Save Me Trust, something we all know Brian cares very deeply about. We all enjoyed a day of shared passion for his music and a love for the guitar that inspired us to play, so we wanted to give something back for all the joy Brian provided us. Our relatively small group managed to chip in and pull together $1,000, with a significant amount coming from a very generous benefactor, Susan Ermish-Gunther, who also paid for everyone’s meals.
But the highlight of the day, for me, happened right at the very end of the meet-up… an impromptu, guitar-only rendition of “Love Of My Life” broke out. A few of the attendees started singing along… but then, one of them, Carlos, a native of Mexico (who travelled to the US with his family to get his 6 year old son vaccinated), who spoke very little English and spent the entire day just politely watching, googled the lyrics on his phone and grabbed the mic to sing the lead vocals and we ended the day on an absolutely positive high. Through the power of Queen’s music, and a love for this guitar, we all understood each other perfectly in that moment.
I want to say a big thank you to Brian for being the conduit for all these connections and new friendships, and we are all very happy to send what we could to the cause to end animal cruelty.
– Luke Holwerda
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