FFM members participate in the Concert across America to End Gun Violence


On Sunday evening, September 25, some of the members of the Family Folk Machine will join other community singers to present the Iowa City iteration of the Concert across America to End Gun Violence. The concert is at 6:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall at Trinity Episcopal Church, 320 E. College Street. It’s designed to be a bit under an hour long and entirely kid-friendly.

Something special happens when we take our FFM songs out and sing them at community events. The songs are meaningful when we sing them as part of a concert program. But singing them at an event with a specific purpose gives them extra meaning. Sometimes it’s very simple: it’s fun to sing about vegetables when you’re standing across from a Farmers’ Market stand full of September bounty. Last night at our rehearsal, I could tell that for me at least it was very powerful to bring some of these songs we already knew into a context where the focus is on supporting victims of gun violence and people in cities that have been ripped apart by gun violence. The songs Avila and We’ve Been Down this Road Before always come to my mind when I hear about unrest in our cities. Last night Wash my Eyes seemed particularly beautiful in this context; not just in asking forgiveness for our complicity with a violence-crazed society, forgiveness so that we can enjoy simple joys like the return of spring and our children sleeping in peace, but perhaps also washing our eyes and our ears through which we consume with fascination and horror the stream of alarming reports about violence without knowing how to integrate this knowledge into our lives in a way that keeps us whole and healthy.

It’s my understanding that more than 350 concerts are being performed on September 25 as part of this nationwide event. It will be good to think of so many people on the same day turning their thoughts to peace and to working together to curb gun violence. At our Iowa City event, representatives of the local chapter of Moms Demand Action will have information about how communities can work to prevent gun violence.

Here’s the link to the Facebook event for our concert: Concert Across America to End Gun Violence. It is free and open to the public.