Charity Work a Big Part of Past Year for Team Landau
Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. used his gifts as an entertainer and vocalist in Southern West Virginia for several years prior to winning America’s Got Talent, performing at benefits for local organizations including The Children’s Home Society, The We Can Program and the Logan County Arts and Crafts Fair. And, that’s when he didn’t have anything to give except his talent. It turns out, that was just the beginning.
“As someone who has seen my share of hard times, it’s really important for me to give back to West Virginia, which has given me and my family so much. I’m blessed to be able to do so much more to help my fellow Mountaineers now”, says Murphy. And give back he has. Since his record-setting win was viewed by over 14 million viewers on NBC television and the release of his Columbia Records debut CD “That’s Life”, Landau has literally spent hundreds of hours in his home state helping worthy causes.
Murphy’s long list of benefit concert bookings include shows for the Appalachian Children’s Chorus and Hospice of Huntington, headlining multiple sold out dates at Charleston’s Clay Center which enabled Logan County youth to visit the facility free of charge, a Christmas coat and glove drive in Morgantown at the Creative Arts Center, Rotary fundraisers in Summersville and Huntington, concerts benefitting Princeton’s Denver Foundation and the United Way, plus private performances for the Charleston Montessori School, the WVU/Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, Concord College and The Tamarack Foundation, a Capitol Music Hall show for ARC of Wheeling, a concert fundraiser for Madison’s Main Street program, and benefits to support the CAMC and Highland Hospital Foundations. Landau even squeezed in trips home to Logan between tour stops for a surprise return appearance at the We Can Vaudeville show (where he had performed for several years prior to winning AGT) and hosting a free concert with his big band for the Logan County Chamber of Commerce, who were instrumental in helping launch Landau to stardom.
In August, Governor Tomblin recognized Landau for spearheading a statewide canned food drive held in conjunction with his office. Residents who donated non-perishable food items received free tickets to Landau’s State Fair of West Virginia headlining performance, helping to replenish food banks that were depleted after a statewide power outage in June. Murphy has visited with several area school systems including county wide assemblies in Webster and Logan counties, delivering an anti-bullying message while also encouraging students to believe in their dreams. And, while most people never hear about it, Landau can often be found quietly visiting with patients at local hospitals including the David Lee Cancer Center and with residents of Charleston’s Union Mission, the Golden Girls Group Home for battered and abused girls in Kenova and the Sunrise Valley youth camp near Beckley to offer hope and encouragement.
Landau’s passion for sports has given him the opportunity to participate in several exhibition basketball games benefitting charitable organizations including Habitat for Humanity, the Kenneth Honey Rubenstien Center for at-risk youth in Canaan Valley (along with NFL star Randy Moss, WVU great Pat White and Senator Joe Manchin) and Wyoming County groups Community Connection, One Voice, Family Resource Network, and local SADD Chapters, in conjunction with the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services and U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, to raise awareness and community support for substance abuse prevention. Landau has served as a United Way Celebrity Singing Waiter at Glade Springs (where he also appeared at a Remember The Miners charity golf outing), performed at a fundraising dinner for the Charleston Area Community Music Association, visited with survivors and posed for photos along with Miss West Virginia Andrea Rogers at Charleston’s huge Girl’s Night Out event to fight domestic abuse, supported the Walking Miracles cancer survivor’s charity benefit alongside boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard, and signed photos and posed for photos to benefit the WVU Athletic Fund and the Children’s Miracle Network at area WalMart stores Landau saluted our troops at the July 4th Freedom Festival by personally presenting all veterans in attendance with medals thanking them for their service, and honored his country by performing the National Anthem prior to WVU and MU sporting events. Landau and wife Jennifer were even spotted line dancing with a large group of teens and educators under the dome at the State Capitol to highlight physical fitness and healthy eating habits.
It’s been a very busy year indeed, but Landau shows no signs of slowing down. As he says “I’m very blessed to be living my dream, and I thank West Virginia and all of America every day for giving me this opportunity.”