Sheryl Crow, Margo Price and Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show delivered powerful performances at a candlelight vigil held in honor of the victims and survivors of the shooting at Covenant School, for students in preschool through sixth grade, earlier this week in Nashville, Tennessee.
People flooded into Public Square Park in Downtown Nashville to grieve and support one another, holding onto candles as Nashville Mayor John Cooper, Metro Council member Russ Pulley, Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake, First Lady Jill Biden and others attended and spoke at the vigil on Wednesday evening (March 29). Middle Tennesseans and others mourned the loss of six victims, including three children, who died when a 28-year-old former student of the private Christian school entered the building armed with two AR-style rifles and a handgun, which police perviously confirmed were obtained legally. The victims were identified as 9-year-old students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, in addition to substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61, headmaster Katherine Koonce, 60, and custodian Mike Hill, 61. Vigils were quickly organized and ways to help the families were established. Metro Nashville Police Department officers Rex Engelbert and Michael Collazo have been hailed as heroes for their swift response in killing the attacker on Monday morning (March 27).
“Our officers have cried and are crying with the Nashville community and the world,” Drake said during the vigil. “From your support, we gather strength and the will to carry on in the protection of our city. May you, too, be strong as we face the coming days.”
Crow performed “I Shall Believe,” Price performed Bob Dylan’s “Tears of Rage” and Secor performed “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” during the vigil on Tuesday evening. The artists were among many who were quick to speak out about gun violence and their heartbreak following news of the tragedy on Monday. Crow wrote in a tweet: “No words… The Covenant School. Our children deserve better. Praying for all affected. Tragic America.”
“As a mother who has lost a child, my heart is breaking for those murdered yesterday in Nashville at the school shooting,” Price wrote in an Instagram caption. She posted a series of photos, including a widely-shared one captured by Tennessean photojournalist Nicole Hester and included a call to action. “It doesn’t have to be this way, yet, guns are the leading cause of death for children in the US. In Tennessee, [Gov. Bill Lee] has made it easier than ever to procure weapons when he passed permit less carry in 2021. [Marsha Blackburn] has accepted over 1 million dollars from the NRA. Please vote them out and also donate to [Everytown for Gun Safety] and let’s help end this nightmare. Children shouldn’t go to school and fear for their lives.”
Other artists, including Maren Morris, have also spoken about their grief in response to the tragedy. Morris shared a glimpse of the Tennessee State Capitol on Thursday morning (March 30), where crowds of protestors arrived at Legislative Plaza to march and advocate for gun reform (Price also posted that she’s “using my voice again this morning at the protest to advocate for gun safety”). Morris' husband, fellow singer-songwriter Ryan Hurd, said in emotional statement on the day of the shooting: “I don’t even know what to say. I have been in tears all day. This is our back yard. I don’t know if I know these people but I know they are at the very least friends of friends without even knowing their names. For 6 families, ‘could have been worse’ is just not true. We are heartbroken. I just want to hug these families, cry with them. I pray and I mourn with them. I am just so sad. I feel helpless. I hold them up in love and also rage. There are kids who will never come home and I cannot handle that. Beautiful, sweet babies who are learning cursive and playing soccer on the weekends. I am so sorry and so sad. I don’t know how to wrap this up because there is no wrapping it up. Love to each and every one of you. May you know what it means to be loved and to be safe. I love you.”