Like many others, my heart is still split open over the Oct. 25 shootings in Lewiston, and I know our beloved state will never be the same. At the same time, I take comfort in knowing that so many people are rallying with their support for the victims’ families, and that includes the local music community.

Music can be helpful and healing. James Taylor knows this, too, and I wept when I saw the footage of him singing the National Anthem before the start of last week’s Lewiston-Auburn high school football game.

I reached out to Camden-based novelist and musician Tess Gerritsen to get her take on the power of music and she told me that she considers it to be one of the most direct route to our emotions.

“It’s almost as if music has a secret door into the part of our brain that experiences love and loss and joy, so it’s no wonder that music also has the power to heal just as it has the power to make us weep,” she said.

Let’s continue to let people in Lewiston, the surrounding towns, and for that matter everywhere else know that Maine is still a lovely place to live. And let’s also do what we can financially to help those Lewiston families who are suffering more than we can conceive of.

Here are some ways.


Lauren Wayne from the State Theatre said that $1 for every show at the venue through Dec. 31 will be donated to the City of Lewiston’s Families and Victims Fund. “We know it’s just a small part of a long and emotional recovery, but we wanted to come up with some ways to try and help,” said Wayne. “It’s nice to have all the artists feel invested in trying to help as well, and a lot of them will be helping us get the word out through their own channels.”

On Friday, Aura in Portland is hosting the All Day Long Lewiston Strong Benefit. Breakfast will be available from 8-10 a.m., and you can eat it at the sports pub or get it packed to go. The Captain Herb Ivy and Celeste from WBLM will be stopping by.

From 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., the sports pub will be serving all sorts of food and drinks. Lewiston Strong T-shirts will be available for $18.

The Together Hours for Lewiston are from 5-7 p.m., with free appetizers and drink specials. You can also bid on silent auctions for things like concert tickets and hotel packages.

At 7 p.m., things move over to the main venue, with live performances from Recycled Percussion with Don Campbell, Viva the Sensation and Laurie Jones, Brit Martin and more. Tickets are $18-$25. Pick them up in person at the Aura Sports Grill or grab them via TicketMaster.

Flask Lounge in Portland is presenting its Monday of the Minds community hip-hop showcase next week as a benefit for the Maine Community Foundation and Lewiston-Auburn Area Response Fund. The music starts at 9 p.m., and there’s a $10 cover for the 21-plus show.


The show will feature sets from Sarah Violette, Indica Trells, Human Speakers and Shawn Caliber, with DJ Myth spinning in between.

Over at Portland House of Music, Hoboe Productions presents the Lewiston Mass Shooting Victims’ Fund Benefit on Wednesday, Nov. 15. Doors are at 7 p.m., and the music starts at 8 p.m. All gross ticket sales will benefit the Lewiston Mass Shooting Victims’ Fund.

John Hughes Radio. Photo by Lauryn Hottinger

Opening up the evening is indie dance rock band John Hughes Radio with the lineup of Nate Alfriero (drums), Matt Zimmerman (guitar and backing vocals), Jason Marshall (bass and backing vocals), Michael Solak (guitar) and lead singer Sean Slaughter. The band formed in 2015 and has released three albums, including “Outsail The Sea” earlier this year.

On the night of Oct. 25, the members of John Hughes Radio were in a studio tracking a new song when reports started coming in. In the days that followed, they all agreed that they had to do something to help. “This horrific tragedy left us feeling sad, angry and hopeless. We are hosting this benefit show to offer support and aid to the victims and their families in this extremely difficult and heartbreaking time,” said Slaughter.

After John Hughes Radio, indie-folk pop singer-songwriter Chelsea Toussaint, who records and performs under the name Sparxsea, takes the stage.

Sparxsea released the single “Little Wooden Boat” a couple of years ago and “Forever Love” in 2022. A full-length album called “On the Sea” is slated for a 2024 release and will feature guest musicians Tim Reynolds (Dave Matthews Band), Dana Colley (Vapors of Morphine) and Nikki Glaspie (Nth Power, Beyoncé), among others.

If you’ve been wondering how you can help those affected by the tragedy in Lewiston, seeing a show to show your support is one way to start.

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