MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

July 6, 2013

Tornado relief concert sells out

NORMAN (AP) — Thousands of people turned out for a Saturday concert benefiting Oklahoma tornado victims.

The star-studded concert featuring Oklahoma natives Toby Keith and Garth Brooks was sold out, with officials estimating a crowd of nearly 65,000, the Tulsa World reported.

The money raised from ticket sales benefits the United Way of Central Oklahoma. That organization has established a fund to aid victims of the tornadoes and violent storms that pummeled the state in May and killed dozens of people.

A separate benefit concert last month hosted by Oklahoma native country music star Blake Shelton raised more than $6 million in donations and pledges.

Saturday’s concert was organized by Keith, who was slated to perform later Saturday.

Brooks, meanwhile, took to the stage Saturday afternoon at the Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert at the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

“Today the healing begins,” he said.

Brooks played “Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House” and “Papa Loved Mama.” His wife, Trisha Yearwood, joined him for a duet, “In Another’s Eyes.”

“God bless you, Oklahoma!” Yearwood yelled, according to the World.

Some concertgoers said their experiences with tornadoes or someone affected by the recent storms drew them to the fund-raising event.

Marie Carter, a physician whose office is in Oklahoma City, said she watched helplessly as a twister moved through Moore, coming within a half-mile of her own home.

“It was very scary for a lot of us,” Carter said, according to the World. “We’ve been out there helping our friends, digging through the rubble, and because we’re so close, we’ve had a lot of patients come in who lost everything who have symptoms of PTSD. It’s almost surreal, but we wanted to come out and support this cause.”

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