Musicians mark 1 year since tragic deaths

Chelsie Hanstad

Hundreds of musicians at dozens of venues will pay tribute to the late Sen. Paul Wellstone on Saturday, one year after a fatal plane crash killed him, his wife, daughter, three staff members and the plane’s two pilots.

Wellstone World Music Day – the brainchild of City Pages columnist Jim Walsh – is one of many memorials this weekend to honor the crash victims.

Walsh’s brother, music day coordinator Terry Walsh, said the day’s events are a way to help people deal with grief, and anyone can participate.

“Sing in the shower if you want to,” Terry said.

Kristine Holmgren said she plans to sing on the corner of Larpenteur Avenue and Dale Street at noon Saturday, Walsh said.

“She says she doesn’t have the greatest voice,” he said. “But she wants to get out and do something. She wants to make it fun.”

Holmgren will accept dedications and donations for the Wellstone Action Fund, according to the Wellstone World Music Day Web site.

Prairie Star Coffee in St. Paul is also getting involved with a gathering of supporters from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday. The coffeehouse is also hosting a photography exhibition, “Photographers Remember Paul Wellstone,” until Thursday.

KFAI radio is airing a two-part documentary on Wellstone’s life, which co-producer Casey Biron said is a follow-up on what is happening a year after Wellstone’s death.

Happenings on campus

Friends and family of Will McLaughlin, the Wellstone aide and University student killed in the crash, have organized a fund-raising concert in his name at the Radisson Hotel Metrodome on Saturday.

Local band Dazy Head Mazy, who will perform at the event, have been close friends of the McLaughlin family for several years, said McLaughlin’s brother, David.

A silent auction will accompany the concert, and supporters have already donated more than 120 items, including Vikings football and Wild hockey tickets, an autographed piece of music from Barry Manilow, and Wellstone paraphernalia.

“Will was a terrific kid who loved life and loved the University,” David McLaughlin said. “That’s why it seemed fitting to hold the party on campus,” David said.

More than 500 tickets have already been sold.

Money raised will go toward endowments in Will McLaughlin’s name at the University Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and to St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, Minn., where McLaughlin went to high school.

Honoring the workers

Former colleagues of Mary McEvoy, the University educational psychology professor and Sheila Wellstone aide who died in the crash, organized a clothing drive in her memory for the Harriet Tubman Center.

Organizers are collecting sweatpants, hats, mittens, cotton undergarments and baby items such as bottles, diapers and formula.

Mike Peluso, an assistant director with the University of Minnesota Foundation, said the organization also established the Mary McEvoy Fund to support research and outreach in early child development.

The foundation has also set up a fund for Tom Lapic, a Wellstone staff member killed in the crash. The Tom Lapic Memorial Fund supports academic and life achievements in philosophy and ethics, Peluso said.