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Michelle Canning to hold online Alzheimers benefit concert

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Michelle Canning

Michelle Canning lays down the vocal tracks for her upcoming album "The Next 11 Miles" at the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music on Thursday May 3, 2018 in Morehead, Ky. Photo by Julianna Leach

A virus that has nearly halted all human contact on a global level will not stop a Morehead State graduate from performing a benefit show for a disease that devastated her family.

Michelle Canning will be hosting a virtual concert for the Alzheimers Foundation of America after her original performance was canceled due to COVID-19.

She said that online shows are important for musicians in ways that go beyond finances.

“That’s what we are put on the earth to do, is play music,” said Canning. “You can’t take it away from us.”

Canning’s benefit concert series began in 2012 after cowriting a song called “I’ll Take Him Away.” The song wasn’t about her grandfather, who passed from Alzheimer’s when she was a young girl, but was for him and similar to his story

“It got me thinking, I don’t want other families to have to go through what my family has been through,” she said. “I want to be able to do something to help put an end to this.”

That something turned out to be the “A Night on the Edge” concert series.

“Every year after that we just never stopped,” said the Morehead State University graduate.

This year would have marked their ninth show in Massachusetts. Originally, they moved it to June expecting the pandemic to loosen up, but when that wasn’t in sight it was moved to March 2021.

“We decided for everybody’s safety that it was better to just go ahead and cancel it,” she said.

But, they didn’t want to go without doing anything.

Canning will be hosting a solo Facebook Live performance partnered with the foundation. She said Facebook Live is her preferred option because it can mimic the feedback one can have in a live crowd.

“To be able to sit down and watch a concert, it’s like a little bit of our normal life comes back,” Canning said. “I can read what somebody wrote and respond to it, just like if we were on stage and somebody might yell something from the audience and I would respond to it.”

Her performance will be Friday, April 24, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. ET on her Facebook page @mcanningmusic

“We can’t get together and have a great time altogether as a group like we always did, but to still come together even when we are apart I think is pretty special,” she said.