Come Together

Eugene students produce music benefit for UCC victims of gun violence

Event organizer Jane Brinkley
Event organizer Jane Brinkley

When unimaginable horrors are in the headlines — as they are far too often these days — it’s easy to feel helpless and to wonder what one person can do about so much pain in the world.

“About a week after the UCC shooting [in Roseburg] I was driving my kids to school,” says Eugene writer Rachael Carnes. Carnes, a regular contributor to EW, says the benefit was the brainchild of her daughter, Jane Brinkley. Brinkley, 13, is in the 8th grade at Roosevelt Middle School. Carnes and Brinkley are coordinating “Music Heals: A Benefit for all Victims of Gun Violence.”

Carnes recalls Brinkley asking: “‘What about a benefit?’ And as she threw her backpack over her shoulder said, ‘because, you know, music heals.’ It sort of snowballed from there,” Carnes says.

“There are so many questions that, as parents, we don’t have answers to,” Carnes continues. “One of the things you can do is talk to your kids.”

“I’ve always been very shocked and hurt by gun violence,” Brinkley tells EW. “When the shootings happened at UCC, it really hit close to home. I wanted to do something about it.”

Brinkley says about 50 people will perform at the benefit. “People signed on immediately,” she says.

Alongside Brinkley, popular University of Oregon a cappella groups Divisi and On the Rocks will perform, as well as The Sugar Beets with Halie Loren, Anna Gilbert and many more. Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy and poet Ingrid Wendt will speak at the event.

One-hundred percent of the proceeds from the benefit will be donated to the families of UCC shooting victims.

“Music is a universal language,” Brinkley says. “No matter who you are or what your story is — even if you don’t create music — you can still appreciate it. It’s not limiting. Everyone can appreciate it.”

“I’ve come to realize healing isn’t just about healing from loss,” Carnes says. “There’s a different kind of healing. As we move forward with this issue, it seems like we have to find common ground. I’ve really developed more of a sense of that from working with these kids.”

Music Heals: A Benefit for all Victims of Gun Violence starts at 6 pm Sunday, Dec. 6, at First United Methodist Church in Eugene; $5-$20 suggest donation, all proceeds go to families of UCC shooting victims..