Photos Courtesy of Arik Housley
The Thousand Oaks community united around a night of music and love Feb. 10 to benefit Borderline survivors and families of victims.
“Nov. 7 didn’t change 12 families [or] 140 young college kids,” Tim Hagel, Thousand Oaks chief of police said during the concert. “It changed a community and brought us together.”
On Nov. 7, 2018, 12 individuals lost their lives at Borderline Bar and Grille after a mass shooting took place, injuring countless more. The Music Strong Borderline Victims Benefit Concert raised money for the 12 families who lost loved ones and also for survivors of the event, many of them college students.
Thousand Oaks-based music producer Mikal Blue of Revolver Recordings organized the concert, bringing together various artists he’s worked with like Colbie Caillet, Jason Mraz, Rita Wilson and more. All proceeds from the concert went directly to the victims’ families and survivors of Borderline through the Ventura County Community Foundation, according to the venue’s website.
“Every performer this evening has graciously offered their time to help this community,” Blue said during the concert. “It took Jason Mraz two minutes to respond to my email [to be part of the concert].”
Bank of America even donated the venue, the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, free of charge for the event.
Borderline victims’ families, including that of Pepperdine freshman Alaina Housley, had the opportunity to meet the artists before the show.
Photos courtesy of Arik Housley
Some artists like Wilson and Pablo Cruise chose to celebrate the lives of those who died, playing upbeat songs and encouraging the audience to dance along. Others, like Drew Ryn, Christian Lopez, Dalton Cyr and Mraz, sang slower, more soulful pieces focusing around love and loss.
“This town has dealt with so much this year,” Mraz said. “I want to thank you guys for coming here and for supporting this purpose.”
Country singer Annie Bosko invited Borderline line dancing instructor Kristal Lynn Konzen onstage to dance to her hit “Crooked Halo.” Bosko said she saw a video of Konzen dancing to her song on YouTube which led her to performing “Crooked Halo” live at Borderline years ago.
Brian Hynes, the owner of Borderline Bar and Grille, spoke during the concert, thanking Blue and the performers for the event. Hynes said the bar “meant everything” to him.
Lorrie Dingman, mother of victim Blake Dingman, also spoke.
“Tonight we’re here to honor these unique individuals, all very special people, the people that we loved,” Dingman said. “Not just the names on the news, but 12 very real people that have left very real holes in our daily lives. We also celebrate every person who was there that night – people who have experienced things no one should ever witness. We honor you, we lift you up and we pray that you will each boldly live your lives to the fullest in honor of those that we have lost.”
Hagel said he thought of an idea “to spread kindness” while talking to the Housley family.
“[What] came to my mind quickly was the spirit of pay it forward,” Hagel said. “If we each picked 20 people in the next year to just say hello to … all you do is just say, ‘Hi.’ 36,000 contacts in a year. And what if just one of those persons that y’all said hi to, what if one person was having a really bad day and by you saying hi to them, it changed the face of history?”
The Housleys created Alaina’s Voice to spread kindness and remember victims of gun violence. The organization centers on the motto, “voice of song, voice of strength, voice of spirit, voice of change.”
Photo courtesy of Arik Housley
“We know that this loss has been felt not just by us but it’s been felt by this whole community, by you,” Dingman said. “We know that you are with us, we know that you grieved with us, we know that you prayed for us, and with all my heart we thank you.”
Follow the Pepperdine Graphic on Twitter: @PeppGraphic