The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Tornado: Donate & volunteer

July 22, 2011

Kansas City singer’s return to Joplin includes three benefits

JOPLIN, Mo. — As the first Rock 4 Heart & Home outdoor concert was winding down back on June 11, Jillian Riscoe’s spontaneous announcement to hold a second, similar concert in the near future was immediately met with cheers and applause.

That second concert is today. And tomorrow. And Sunday.

With proceeds going to rebuilding St. John’s Regional Medical Center, the Rock 4 Heart & Home benefit concert -- dubbed “Part II” -- kicks off tonight and continues through the weekend.

“After meeting every single person at the show (that night) and seeing how moved they were by our actions through music, it was incredibly humbling,” Riscoe said.

She knew she would have to do something like this again -- and soon.

The May 22 tornado struck Joplin when the Kansas City musician, who has family ties to Joplin, was boarding a plane with her mother in Los Angeles after a business trip.

“We heard the news as the plane took off. I was heartbroken and devastated,” she said. “Thankfully my family was safe but we heard St. John’s Regional Medical Center was hit and that scared us so much.”

Her uncle, Jim Riscoe, is a senior doctor for the emergency room at the Joplin hospital.

“On the plane ride home, I knew we had to do something -- a benefit concert and candlelight vigil. I teamed up with our great friends and fellow musicians, 49 Stones, and started planning Rock 4 Heart & Home right away.”

Those plans came to fruition several weeks later, when Riscoe and her band, 21st Century, performed in front of hundreds.

“Music is a therapy,” Riscoe said, “and to actually see that through everyone that night -- residents and volunteers -- was beyond words. With Rock 4 Heart & Home, we wanted music to help people both heal and remember those lost, (as well as) leave with thoughts of moving forward.

“Music makes you feel, heal, get through the hardest times, the happiest times and everything in-between,” she said. “It’s the best therapy anyone could ask for. To bring that to one special event in Joplin, for Joplin, was amazing.”

During the concert, the music they played moved many in the audience to tears. Interaction with Joplin residents, in turn, inspired them. One of Briscoe’s songs, “Rebuild,” was written with Joplin in mind and released to the public on July 15.

Additional songs -- hopeful songs, Briscoe said -- were written between her and Emma Jo, lead singer of 49 Stones.

“Actually, Emma and I wrote our songs in less than an hour,” she said. “I think every single image, video and story we were hearing and seeing contributed (in some way) through our music.”

Everything about this weekend-long concert is bigger and better, Riscoe promises.

In fact, every single band participating has a Joplin connection in some way.

“My band and 49 Stones have ties to Joplin because of my family,” she said. “We met Isaac Genius’ bassist, Chris Six and his mom, Marilyn Six, at the first (concert) and they were so nice. We ended up connecting with them and becoming friends.”

While the first two nights are free, Sunday evening’s concert is $5 per person. Aside from the music, there will be both a candlight vigil and a memorial balloon release for all 159 tornado victims.

The music played -- pop and alternative -- will be family friendly, suitable for all ages, and donations to help rebuild St. John’s will be accepted all three nights. The first concert generated $600 in donations.

“We just want to make sure we are connecting to Joplin residents,” Riscoe said. “Making a personal connection with everyone was extremely rewarding and helpful to the community, I believe.”

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