In what has become a yearly event for the Beech family, the Jonathan Beech Memorial Concert will take place at Kennett High School March 15 at 2 p.m.
In its seventh year, the concert is held in memory for Jonathan Beech. After a four-year battle with a brain tumor, he passed away at the age of 15 in 2007.
“He went through four years of treatment and had a really good prognosis, but [the tumor] returned and he died,” said Donna Beech, his mother. “He was a top student and got academic awards.”
Some of those awards included recognition from Johns Hopkins University and the Carnegie Mellon University talent searches.
Being from such a musical family, a big thank-you choral concert was held at the end of Jonathan’s treatments, two and a half years before his death, for all the support they had received. He even sang in the chorus and did a reading.
“He was one of my best pianists,” Beech said. “He played the cello and was one of the top cellists in my husband’s orchestra.”
A month before his passing, Jonathan said to his parents that he would never be able to thank everyone for all they had done for him.
His parents decided to make the concert they held as an annual event to keep sharing his thank you and to benefit different organizations and charities which had helped Jonathan along the way. They have kept that promise ever since.
This year’s concert will benefit Camp Sunshine in Casco, Maine, a place where Jonathan attended.
“That’s a really special place that we’ve gone to,” Beech said. “They’ve provided a haven for kids and their parents from all over the country. It’s a phenomenal place. We were there three times with Jonathan and we’ve been back to volunteer since 2008.”
Even Jonathan’s younger brother, David, has been volunteering since he turned 16.
So far from the six previous concerts, the Beech family has raised over $57,000 and have distributed it to Compassionate Care Hospice, Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Division of Neuro-Oncology, Nemour/A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children, SuperSibs!, Make-a-Wish Foundation of Philadelphia and Susquehanna Valley and Camp Sunshine.
Beech will be the director of this year’s concert and will feature Karl Jenkins’ “The Peacemakers,” a combined church and community choirs with an orchestra, the Youth Chorale of the Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus, the Kennett High School Chorale and the Delaware Children’s Chorus.
David, now a freshman at West Chester University, has even brought more to the concert.
“He’s a music major himself, so he’s taken it upon himself to get a group of music majors involved in the concert, too,” Beech said. “This will be the first time we have college students involved. He enlisted the help of a junior voice major.”
Nancy Cincotta, the psychosocial director at Camp Sunshine, will also be in attendance and will speak at the concert as well.
Suggested donations at the door are $20 for adults and $10 for children, all of which are tax-deductible.
“The expenses will be taken care of by a couple donors,” Beech said. “Everybody’s contributions we’ll collect and the following week, we’ll send it all to Camp Sunshine.”