Kathryn Boyd-Batstone / Rivard Report
San Antonians will have another chance to help the families of the Orlando shooting victims on Saturday, Aug. 13 at the University of Incarnate Word Concert Hall.
Local musician Joey Nash-Galvan is organizing a free, donation-based concert as part of the Orlando Benefit Concert Series, an array of classical music shows held across South Texas. The event will raise money for The Center Orlando, an organization that works directly with the city’s LGBTQIA community.
“We want to show that San Antonio is aware of what is happening in the gay community and that we are supportive,” Nash-Galvan said. “Our own gay community is growing and changing and becoming very active.”
On June 12, 29-year-old Omar Mateen opened fire at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 and wounding at least 53. The LGBTQIA community reacted immediately. Vigils were held across the country, including two at Crockett Park downtown.
(Read more: Vigil Honors Orlando Victims, Sparks Brief Protests)
Within days, GoFundMe records were broken and millions of dollars were raised for the families of the victims. Cities all over the U.S. organized various events and fundraisers — San Antonio residents came together to raise more than $22,000 during Pride on the Strip on June 19.
The donations from the Aug. 13 concert aim to increase those numbers. Pride Center San Antonio will collect the donations and send them directly to The Center Orlando.
“This is a way that we can pay tribute to those who were affected through music,” Nash-Galvan said.
The concert will bring together 44 classical musicians from Austin, Houston, Corpus Christi, and San Antonio. Some are professionals, others are students or hobby musicians. One of the violin players, Nina Mavrinac, is a member of six local community orchestras. She said agreeing to play at the event was a no-brainer.
“As a musician, there are certain things you feel you need to do, and this is one of them,” Mavrinac said. “I felt like it was something that needed to be done. We (musicians) feel like it’s a privilege to play for something like this.”
Two student quartets will perform during a reception with food donated by Student Culinary Club of San Antonio and The Bike Waiter from 6-7 p.m. Police Chief William McManus will give opening remarks at the beginning of the event.
The concert will begin at 7 p.m. with two string quartets and a performance by pianist Zachary Ridgway. During the second half of the event, a full symphonic orchestra will perform Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, which Nash-Galvan said he chose for its themes of celebration, strength, and triumph. Both performances will be conducted by Richard Castillo, marking his debut as a conductor.
The Orlando Benefit Concert Series, organized by some of Nash-Galvan’s friends – all members of various symphonies across South Texas – has already held several concerts in Corpus Christi last month and has another planned for Corpus on Saturday, Aug. 6 at North Agnes Space Acoustics (the NASA).
In addition to the events in Corpus Christi and San Antonio, there will be a similar benefit concert on Friday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Blackerby Violin Shop in Austin. San Marcos will get its turn Sunday, Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center on the Texas State University campus.
Top image: A Pride flag flies during the candlelight vigil at Crockett Park on June 16, 2016. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.