Rattle the Stars is an organization that hosts and takes part in events throughout the year to help raise awareness about depression and suicide, specifically in young adults and children, and fights to beat the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. This Saturday, February 23 from 1-4 p.m. at the record store Exile on Main Street in downtown Champaign, Give a Little – the store’s charity fundraising event – will host various artists performing in order to raise money for Rattle the Stars.
Local musician/politician Mike Ingram usually plays with his band, New Souls, but on Saturday, he will be performing solo with his acoustic guitar. Ingram said that he plays “Radiohead songs, maybe Drake, really whatever I’m feeling that day” but you can expect to hear him play about a half hour set. Ingram says that he is participating in this event because he likes to play benefit shows as long as he knows that he can help out in some way whether that is with attendance at the show, fundraising, etc.
He is participating in this specific event because he finds this a very worthy cause and is another way that he can give back. “Exile is one of the few spaces in the area that is for all ages and Rattle the Stars is not only for older people. It’s a teen and children oriented suicide campaign so you want to be able to have kids there of all ages to learn more and so they are able to get help if they are going through something similar.” Ingram also noted how this event provides the opportunity for more foot traffic from the community through Exile, which would be great to get more people into the store.
Drake Maxson, of the band Prevalence, explained that when he performs, he “tries to make people feel something by creating a piece of music. People can sympathize with it, like it, question it, or do whatever they want with it, as long as their reaction is genuine.” This ties into why the band will be performing at the fundraiser – they are happy to help an organization like Rattle the Stars because suicide, anxiety, and mental illness are things that have all personally affected their lives at one time or another. This is the band’s first time participating in this event and they are planning on playing a mix old and new material on Saturday. Maxson commented that “I’m excited to see everyone perform and help raise some money for a good cause!”
Zoe Willott is another artist that will be performing at the event on Saturday. Willott is a solo artist that plays piano and sings when performing her pop music, but she is also a major in jazz piano. On Saturday, she will be playing mostly her own music with some covers thrown into the mix. Willott says that performing at this event is important to her because she believes that building awareness around mental health issues is very important. This will be Willott’s first time performing at this event and she says that not only is she very excited to be performing, but she also commented that, “it’s a great first performance in the area since it’s an intimate setting for a great cause.”
Elizabeth Majerus from the band Motes is actually performing at this event solo, and will be sharing some poems. She explained that she was first asked to perform by Sven Johnson, the man who helps run these events, and he liked how her act combined music and poetry at the first event and so he asked her back. Majerus is participating in this event not only because she is a friend of Johnson’s and supports all of the work that he does through various different organizations, but also because she said that there is always a great vibe at the events and she feels that the audience is very receptive and supportive.
Majerus comments that this organization is close to her heart because she is a high school teacher and so she believes that Rattle the Stars is so beneficial because kids need to know that they are not alone and there are people out there who will support them. “Suicide conversations are important and for too long it’s been if you don’t talk about it, it will go away; but the kind of despair and pain that suicide causes flourishes in silence and talking about it helps.”
Give a Little is happening this Saturday at Exile on Main Street between 1-4 p.m. Exile is donating 10% of sales between noon and 5 p.m. and all donations will go to Rattle the Stars.