Veterans Choir Show Includes Local Connections

Posted on 11/7/2012 2:57:15 PM

The New Directions Veterans Choir, a recent sensation on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, will perform in IUP’s Fisher Auditorium on Tuesday, November 13, 2012. Starting at 8:00 p.m. and part of the Lively Arts Ovations! series, the nine-member choir will perform a spirited set of patriotic tunes, a cappella melodies, and gospel songs. The performance will also involve various local veterans groups as part of IUP’s Veterans Day celebrations.

The ensemble’s vocal prowess is as enthralling and inspiring as the story behind them. Originally comprised of formerly homeless veterans who enrolled in the New Directions program in Los Angeles, the New Directions Veterans Choir is directed by its founder, George Hill.

Hill was homeless for 12 years following his service as a Marine and before enrolling in the New Directions program. Before then, he had grown accustomed to living and singing in MacArthur Park. But, after joining the program, Hill began to compose arresting harmonies and gathered a repertoire of old-school soul and gospel, forming a choir with his peers. “Through singing,” George says, “we hope to let veterans who may be suffering know that there is hope for them.”

The New Directions Veterans Choir performed during the fifth season of America's Got Talent and has been featured on NBC Nightly News and E! Entertainment Television. They have performed at over 100 venues and events, including The Donny and Marie Show, the Democratic National Convention, and for members of the United States Congress. In 2006, the Choir took to the stage for a production of Michael McFall's Dirty White Tuxedo Pants and a Brown Paper Bag, the tale of a homeless Vietnam veteran living on the streets of Los Angeles.

As part of the performance, the local Indiana VFW Post 1989 will be organizing a special color guard to present and retire the “Colors.” The local veterans, along with the IUP Veterans Student Organization, will be on hand to host the concert and provide information. Indiana County commissioner MG Rod Ruddock will also be on hand to make a special presentation during the event.

With the generous sponsorship of several Indiana area veterans, individuals, businesses, and veteran organizations, proceeds from the concert that exceed expenses will be donated by the Lively Arts to the Indiana Veterans Affairs Office to provide support for area veterans in need.

Tickets are available in advance online at, by calling 724-357-1313, or at the Hadley Union Building on the IUP campus. Tickets will also be available at the door starting one hour before the performance.

Tickets are $12 for students and children, $18 for senior citizens, and $23 for regular admission. For more information, contact the Lively Arts at 724-357-2787 (ARTS) or e-mail

In addition to seasonal sponsors and those contributing through the Lively Arts’ Premiere Club, special funding is being provided by several individuals and the following veterans organizations: VFW Post 1989, American Legion 27th District, American Legion Home Association, VFW Post 7377, McDonald Veterans Post 7503, American Legion Post 141, and VFW Post 7043. A full list of contributors will be provided in the printed program.




New Directions Veterans Choir

November 13, 2012
8:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m.

Fisher Auditorium, IUP Performing Arts Center

These military veterans will inspire you with their story and their music the same way they reached out to millions as a finalist on America’s Got Talent. All having served our country before falling into homelessness, this group found music to be the savior that moved their lives back into focus.

This event is over.

For more information, visit New_Directions, e-mail , or call 724-357-2787.