A group of Manitoba musicians has launched an album to raise money in honour of a slain six-year-old. The album launched online Friday, and features 26 songs to honour victims killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14.
Money raised from the album – called Little Hands – will go to a music scholarship fund to honour former Winnipegger Ana Márquez-Greene, killed in the mass shooting. The album was put together in less than a week.
"Seeing the tragedy on the news just struck me," said Jean-Guy Roy, the album’s organizer and the singer-songwriter for the band Federal Lights.
The father to a six-year-old girl, three-year-old boy, and one-and-a-half year old boy said he was moved by the tragedy, though he didn’t know Ana’s family. The album features songs by Imaginary Cities, Les Jupes, Royal Canoe, Quinzy, Jordan St. Cyr, Keri Latimer, JP Hoe and Fred Penner, as well as other artists, who donated their work. Roy said there was an "overwhelming response" to a call-out for musicians.
"They all got on board right away, really quickly," said Roy.
Ana’s father, Jimmy Greene, taught in the Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba for three years before moving his family back to his home state of Connecticut. The Hartford native is now a music professor and assistant jazz program coordinator at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn. While the family lived in Winnipeg, Ana's mother Nelba Marquez-Greene worked at the University of Winnipeg.
The music scholarship fund in Ana’s name will be at the Western Connecticut State University.
Roy said there were 26 songs to represent each of the victims. The album’s name has meaning, he said.
It comes from a television clip mentioning children being taken out of the school with their hands held and eyes closed after the shooting so they wouldn’t see the devastation, he said.
"That imagery just really struck me," he said.
This Saturday, there will be a funeral in Connecticut for the six-year-old girl.
There will be a live satellite feed of the service at Grant Memorial Baptist Church, at 877 Wilkes Avenue.
The album is available online at http://littlehands.bandcamp.com/, and costs $12.99 for all 26 songs.
Individual songs are available for $1, said Roy.