Musicians honor violinist killed during police encounter in Colorado

Musicians honor violinist killed during police encounter with musical vigil

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Sounds of music filled the air around Washington Park as musicians honored the memory of a 23-year-old violinist who was killed during an encounter with police in Aurora, Colorado last year.

From cellos to violins and more, around 100 musicians joined together on Sunday to play a collection of songs in remembrance of Elijah McClain, 23.

A 911 caller described a “suspicious person”, according to a police overview of the incident with McClain last August.

He was put in a chokehold, suffered a heart attack and was declared brain dead three days later, according to CNN.

Naimah Bilal, a professional violinist from the Tri-State, and other artists arranged the violin vigil in Washington Park.

“Because of the tragedy and the nature of his death, it hit all of us hard,” explained Bilal.

As their bows and chords came together, this group of musicians made a call to action for McClain.

“The hope is hearing and being moved by this music will encourage people to say ‘you know what, it’s actually not right that his murderers haven’t been arrested,‘” conductor Jason Holmes, said.

Through the unifying powers of music, the musicians paid homage McClain but also supported one another.

“This was a way to transmute some of our pain that we’re feeling,” Holmes added. “To celebrate and to grieve, this was our moment to do both.”

Sunday’s event organizers said the community can keep McClain’s memory alive by continuing to play an instrument and by registering to vote in the upcoming presidential election.

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