On a November Saturday afternoon at Carnegie Hall, conductor David Bernard was putting the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony through its paces, rehearsing the first movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. That evening’s concert – featuring the PACS, three choruses and a quartet of soloists – was billed as “Honoring Our Veterans,” pairing the Ninth with the New York premiere of Dreams of the Fallen, a work for choir, orchestra and piano by contemporary composer Jake Runestad.

This rehearsal was attended by three special guests, U.S. Army veterans sitting stage right and observing conductor David Bernard in action: Reverend Jeff Clyburn, a Newark, New Jersey minister; Dauphine Powell, a former Army medic cum school-teacher; and Jeff Kersey; a fifteen-year veteran of the engineering corps. All three have received therapeutic assistance from Voices for Valor, a New Jersey-based organization that uses music to help military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

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