By Roberto Luna
Daily Press Intern
Santa Monica residents will be able to enjoy jazz, classic and contemporary music while fundraising for people affected by the recent shooting in Orlando.
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and String Project Los Angeles, a music school based in Santa Monica, will host a free concert on July 7 to raise money for victims of the recent Orlando shooting. Attendees will be able to donate at the door to The Center in Orlando.
The Center is a community center for people who identify as LGBT in Orlando and has been involved in collecting donations for victims and their families since the shooting.
On June 12, a man shot and killed 49 people and injured another 53 in a gay nightclub in Orlando, before being shot down by police.
Eric Shafer, pastor at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, said he felt compelled to organize the fundraiser after seeing the LGBT community in need.
“The first thing we all did after the shooting was ask, ‘What can we do that’s positive?’” Shafer said.
He said Mt. Olive Lutheran Church is part of the Reconciling with Christ congregation, which welcomes anyone from the LGBT community.
Diana Szekely, co-director of String Project Los Angeles, said she and her staff were moved by the recent shooting, and decided to gather Los Angeles based string players to perform at the church.
Shafer said he anticipates up to 500 people to attend and to raise several thousands of dollars.
The Center has currently raised about $423,000 and others have pledged to donate, according to the organization’s website. It will work with the city of Orlando to distribute money to those affected.
Shafer said he thinks the concert will not only be able to help the LGBT community through donations, but also through the music.
“We believe in the power of music,” he said.
The concert will begin at 7:45 p.m. at the Mt. Olive Lutheran Church.