Benefit concerts to aid tornado victims

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Musical instruments and singing voices will become tools to help those affected by the Nov. 17 tornadoes at a pair of upcoming benefit concerts in Peoria and Bloomington.

On Tuesday the Peoria Symphony Orchestra plays a Tornado Relief Benefit Concert at 7 p.m. at the Peoria Civic Center Theatre.

The concert will feature selections from Handel's Messiah and the audience will be invited to sing along with musicians and vocalist from in and around central Illinois.

In addition, members of the Central Illinois Youth Symphony will perform in the theatre lobby beginning at 6 p.m. Refreshments will be sold and proceeds will go to the relief effort, the PSO said in a news release.

That is true of proceeds from ticket sales, as well: "100% of the proceeds from the ticket sales will be donated to the American Red Cross - Illinois Tornado Recovery," the Symphony said.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at, by calling (309) 671-1096 or at the Civic Center box office on Tuesday evening. All seating is general admission.

CityLink will provide Park and Ride Services from Evergreen Square and Junction City at 6:30 p.m. and from the Mark Twain Hotel at 6:45 p.m.

"In the midst of the tragedy that has struck our region, I want to ask you personally if you can spare the time to come to the Tornado Relief Benefit Concert," said George Stelluto, music director and conductor of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra.

"The Civic Center has donated the hall, musicians from all over the region, representing some twenty musical, educational, and civic organizations, including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, have donated their services for the performance," he said.

"In this time when our neighbors need us so much, we do anything we can to help. We will grab a hammer, a saw, a viola, an oboe, or our own hands and voices. Bring your voice and join us in the Messiah Sing-a-long meant to raise financial support and show our community support for all who have lost so much right before Thanksgiving. Lift your voice to lift their spirits," Stelluto said.

Another benefit concert featuring a slightly different type of music is scheduled for Dec. 4 at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington.

Rock bands Styx, REO Speedwagon, Head East, Survivor and Brushville will perform in an event titled "Rock To The Rescue Extends A Hand to Those in Need." Other performers will include Richard Marx and Larry the Cable Guy.

The artists and numerous vendors, crew and staff will forgo personal compensation for the event so that proceeds can go to the relief effort, said promoter Jay Goldberg of Jay Goldberg Events and Entertainment.

"With our company being based in this area for over 40 years and my family living in Pekin, which was effected by the storm, we wanted to do something to help all those affected. Everyone at Jay Goldberg Events have had friends, family members and employees who were directly impacted by the storm," Goldberg said.

Tickets for this performance are on sale at for $58, $43 and $28 (tickets are subject to applicable service charges and event time and date are subject to change). Visit for up-to-date information. Donations to Rock to the Rescue can be made at

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).