What began 15 years ago as a son desiring to pay tribute to his deceased father - a World War II and Korean War veteran - on Memorial Day, has now become what many believe to be the best Memorial Day weekend ceremony in the state of Wisconsin. Clearly, a cause such as this one could not have attained such levels of notoriety without the passion and vision of competent leadership, namely in the form of Rick Smith, president of the Veterans Memorial Ceremony at Union Grove Cemetery, Inc., the nonprofit organization responsible for producing the annual event.
NON PROFIT MARKETING
Mr. Smith contacted us initially looking for an audio contractor for the 2013 ceremony. After clarifying our services and our approach to marketing for nonprofits, he immediately retained CenterStage Media to produce a promotional video designed to capture the essence of the ceremony, eliminate any misconceptions surrounding its purpose, and serve as a leveragable digital asset during the organization’s fundraising efforts.
ONSITE EVENT PRODUCTION
So with gear in tow, we headed up to the Northwoods of Wisconsin, just a stone’s throw away from Michigan’s U.P. After getting over our initial awe of the sheer natural beauty of the surrounding area, we drove into Union Grove Cemetery - the ceremony’s hosting grounds. What we found was an incredibly scenic resting place, reserved exclusively for the remains of American veterans, tucked away discreetly within Oneida County. (There is currently an effort underway to get Union Grove Cemetery added to the very short list of U.S. National Cemeteries.)
For this project, we had six cameras rolling to adequately film all of the event’s proceedings, which included a multi-aircraft flyover, a Vietnam-era chopper salute, multiple firings of a Civil War cannon, live musical performances, and numerous speeches, including those from some top ranking Wisconsin officials. We also donated some of our audio gear to help cover last minute front of house duties. We concluded our production efforts by interviewing several participants and sponsors, figuring there would be no better salespeople for this cause than those who freely donate their time and resources.
WRITING THE STORY
Heading into post production, we had amassed over seven hours of footage that needed to be synchronized, scrubbed through, and condensed into a seven to eight minute edit showcasing the collective proceedings of the ceremony while simultaneously creating a compelling case for garnering a greater share of charitable contributions.
After 38 hours of storyline development, a rough edit emerged on our editing timeline that we believe accomplishes this objective, thanks in large part to the post-event commentary provided by a select group of ceremony participants and sponsors. Once again, we consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have worked with our absolute favorite composer, Steve Lemaire, whose amazing music truly polished off this project.
We are currently redeploying the organization's online presence through web development, social media integration, digital asset aggregation, and marketing collateral development and conversion after securing new domain names in order to more accurately brand the non profit in the eyes of potential ceremony sponsors and future participants. Additionally, a central repository that more readily accepts digital media-based assets and content produced from future events will be created. Follow the happenings at the Veteran's Ceremony new website: veteransceremony.org
Veterans Ceremony - Union Grove Cemetery, Inc.
Richard Smith, President
8848 CTY RD N
Tomahawk , WI 54487
Brigadier General Mark Michie
Wisconsin National Guard
Ms. Tammy Walters
Oneida County Veterans Service Officer
Secretary John A. Scocos
Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs