The idea is simple.
So simple it started on my car port:
Gather musicians together to play a marathon music session, a TWELVE HOUR jam, and have
them ask their friends and colleagues to monetarily sponsor them for every hour they play!
Then TAKE that money and donate it to charity.
Fourteen years later, we are known across the United States and in five countries as the
One of the things I enjoy most about the Chapel Hill version of our annual fundraiser for the
Fisher Houses of North Carolina, the Marathon Jam, is how each year it is the same, and yet so
We work hard all year long to find Veterans and First Responders who will welcome and benefit
from being wrapped in our custom made red, white, and blue Marathon Jam Quilts Of Honor in
front of an appreciative and supportive audience of spectators and musicians.
Not only do we never know how many people will show up to WATCH our event, we don’t even know
how many MUSICIANS will show up to PLAY the event!
And yet, every year, they come….
Over the years I have wrapped Veterans from all theaters, men and women who served in WW
II, Vietnam, and of course the middle east conflicts. In recent years, as well as the people who
protect us overseas, we began to honor the women and men who protect us at home, our First
Responders: Police, Fire, and EMTs.
The audience, whether small or large, along with the assembled musicians, never fail to rise
and give these brave heroes a standing ovation. And each and every Soldier and Public Servant
we wrap never fails to stand taller and prouder when we wrap their families into that Quilt and
thank THEM for their service and sacrifice.
Those things never change.
Nor does the shared experience, the POWER of twelve hours working together for a common
cause and goal, something bigger than ourselves. Something BEYOND ourselves.
But the music and the stories we share in that circle every year are vastly different and
HUGELY compelling. Each musician commits to this musical act of lunacy
(playing for TWELVE STRAIGHT HOURS?? That’s CRAZY!!!)
for their own deeply personal reasons.
All of their stories are unique and beautiful, and it is truly an honor to join with them as we
attempt to make a statement to the world:
WE CARE FOR OUR SISTERS AND BROTHERS IN ARMS.
We care for their FAMILIES and we WILL NOT forget them or abandon them in their hour of
We will HONOR them and PROVIDE for them.
Please help us with our mission.
The Marathon Jam
All photos by Susan Murray.