Chicago Musicians to Honor Elijah McClain in Violin Vigil

By Keegan Morris |

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Last week, WFMT reported on an impromptu violin vigil happening in Chicago to honor Elijah McClain. This week, that event’s organizer, Alexandra Newman, is helping to coordinate another Chicago vigil to mourn and demand justice for McClain, a Black 23-year-old massage therapist and violinist who died in 2019 after being stopped by the police. The event has already garnered over 2,000 RSVPs on Facebook.

The vigil will be held this Saturday, July 11 in Oz Park, where participants are instructed to wear masks and bring their acoustic bowed string instrument, a music stand, and a portable seat if necessary. Under the baton of conductor and violinist Kyle J. Dickson, artists will play string arrangements of music by William Grant Still, Florence Price, Paul Simon, and Bill Withers, and will conclude with “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which has often been called the Black National Anthem. Sheet music is available via a link on the Facebook event page. Attendees are encouraged to donate to the GoFundMe campaign organized by Elijah’s mother, Sheneen McClain. Musicians of all ages and skill levels are welcome.

To RSVP or learn more about this Chicago violin vigil in honor of Elijah McClain, visit the event’s Facebook page.