By Matt Townsend
A nationwide concert series will soon unite people of many faiths and of none in a rally to raise awareness of gun violence. The Concert Across America to End Gun Violence, scheduled for Sept. 25 at more than 300 locations, promises to bring activists and artists together through live concerts organized entirely through social media. The events coincide with the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims.
Many of the concert venues are faith-based, including a number of Episcopal churches. Bishops United Against Gun Violence has offered support to the movement, calling people to “sing for peace.”
“Places of worship across the country are encouraged to hold their own music event, be it humble or humongous, to raise the volume on the national effort to save lives from gun violence,” the bishops said. “Participation in the concert can include everything from offering a special anthem, to choosing a Sunday’s worth of hymns around the theme of peace, to holding a special performance by a choir, musician or musical group.”
For some, these concerts will serve as an opportunity not just to raise awareness but to remember victims of gun violence who are no longer in their midst. Among the concert venues is Trinity Church in Newtown — the Connecticut town where a gunman killed 28 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Twenty of the victims were first-graders. The Trinity Choristers, the parish’s youth choir, will perform with other Newtown residents at 3 p.m., The Newtown Bee reports.
Francine Lobis Wheeler, whose son Ben died in the Sandy Hook attack, expressed support for the concert through Facebook and asked area residents to join her at Trinity. “Thank you to everyone for your loving words and remembrance of our Ben. We love you,” she said. “Come out and join David and me and the Flagpole Radio Cafe Orchestra, Darryl Gregory, and the Trinity Youth, who will all share song.”
More traditional concert venues are participating — along with internationally known singers. Eddie Vedder, Jackson Browne, and Rosanne Cash will perform together at the Beacon Theater in New York City. More locally renowned musical acts will converge at Lola’s Trailer Park in Fort Worth. Like many venues in the concert series, Lola’s — more outdoor theater than trailer park — will raise donations for nonprofit organizations seeking to end gun violence.
A complete listing of venues is available on the concert series website.