While country music knows no boundaries, its beating heart lies in Nashville, and that heart was on full display during a candlelight vigil for Las Vegas shooting victims, held at Ascend Amphitheater on Monday (Oct. 2).

The Country Music Association, in conjunction with the Nashville mayor's office and Nashville Visitors Corp., organized the vigil to honor the lives lost when a man opened fire on a crowd of 22,000 country music fans at the Route 91 Harvest Festival late Sunday night (Oct. 1) in Las Vegas.

The words used by Nashville star Charles Esten to describe the city as "loving," "caring," "generous" and above all "family," were reflected in the fact that Vince Gill and Amy Grant, Keith UrbanAlison Krauss and all came to be with mourners, adding a bit of light to the darkness with poignant performances.

Watch the Nashville Vigil for Vegas Shooting Victims

 

"May we never lose our voice for innocent people," Gill thoughtfully said before delivering a soft, yet powerful performance of "Go Rest High on the Mountain" and leading the audience into an emotional singalong of "Amazing Grace." But it was Grant who offered the most intimate moment of the evening, turning the crowd of strangers into close companions when she prompted everyone to reach out to the person next to them, leading to rows of people with their arms around one another, lighted candles in hand, as she delivered a moving prayer.

Urban continued the theme of heartfeltness when he took the stage for a harrowing performance of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," but not before driving home the closeness of country music fans and artists, telling the emotional story of driving his daughters to school with the weight of the tragic events on his mind and how one of his children asked why he was sad, even though he didn't know anyone among the dead. "Because they're family," he replied.

Krauss moved the crowd with her own angelic performance of "Amazing Grace," inspiring others to join her in singing. "The counterweight to grief is community and that is what Nashville does so well," Mayor Megan Barry said, echoing the sentiments of Urban and everyone else in attendance.

"This community is strong, this community lifts up and supports and unites. .. This community is not confined to the boundaries of Nashville," added Senior Vice President of Programming & Artist Relations for Opry Entertainment Sally Williams in reference to the country music family.

Though an evening filled with heartbreak and sorrow, a little bit of light shone through the darkness, not just through the powerful words of Nashville's dignitaries, but from people coming together to help one another heal and bring a sense of peace.

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