Musician Brian Vander Ark to Headline YMCA Event

The YMCA of Rock River Valley is excited to announce musician Brian Vander Ark will be the featured speaker at its annual Community Dinner on March 7, 2019 at Giovanni’s Restaurant and Convention Center.  Vander Ark is the lead singer and principal songwriter for the multi-platinum band, "The Verve Pipe." In 1997, their song ‘The Freshmen’ was a number one hit. What followed were worldwide tours and fame. But, like many rock bands in the 90s, The Verve Pipe had a string of near hits, but ultimately failed to follow up their number one song with another. After being dropped from RCA Records, Brian sold all of his possessions and spent two years soul searching. He will share his story of overcoming obstacles and  rebranding, which ultimately lead to a life committed to music.

“Brian’s story is compelling and while we’re not all rock stars, we can relate,” said Michelle Gorham, Chief Advancement Officer, YMCA of Rock River Valley. “Many of us have found ourselves at a crossroads in life as we try to pursue our dreams. All of our journeys look different, but we can find common ground through music.”

The Y offers several music and arts programs for individuals of all ages. This event will show how this type of programming helps us bridge divides and find common ground in our community. The dinner also offers two scholarship opportunities for individuals pursuing a college education. The Antonio Little Teen Leadership Award will provide a $1,000 scholarship to a local teen. Additionally, the Y and Judson University will award a 2-year, fully funded scholarship in the adult professional program. Visit for additional details and to apply.

The YMCA Community Dinner will be held March 7, 2019 at Giovanni’s from 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets are on sale now. Sponsorship opportunities are available. To learn more, visit