Alabama and Friends concert raises over $1 million for Jacksonville State

Northeast Alabama

Alabama members Randy Owen, Jeff Cook and Teddy Gentry perform as the headliners at a benefit concert to rebuild JSU

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JACKSONVILLE, Ala.- On Wednesday evening, thousands of country music fans filed into JSU`s stadium for a special concert.

The band Alabama called in a few friends to raise money to help rebuild the campus after last spring's tornado.

Before he talked to reporters, Alabama frontman Randy Owen took a moment to collect himself.

"To think there's a chance I may not be able to perform tonight, with all of you all here, it's very emotional," Owen said.

Feeling a bit under the weather, Owen promised to help lend a hand six months after a tornado hit Jacksonville State.

"This is just a small thing. Because I know Merrill Hall was about $35 million," Owen said.

That small thing was calling seven fellow country acts--including Charlie Daniels--to join Alabama in a benefit concert.

"I saw them in 2003 at their farewell tour," Alabama fan Jonathan Miller said.

Fans lined the gates on Wednesday afternoon, barely noticing the pouring rain.

"It doesn't hurt my feelings any," fan Glenn Davenport said wearing a poncho.

The rain took a break as fans in ponchos found their seats, their boots tapping in the puddles.

"I'm just so thankful they're doing this for us. Because it was so much destruction back in the spring," JSU alum Alice Brown said.

Every beer. Every t-shirt. Every big cardboard check will help repair the damaged campus.

"They wouldn`t do this unless they really cared about our town," Miller said. "And they have an investment in our town. And this just shows they take their investment seriously."

The most recent damage total for JSU was around $70 million. When asked how much they hope to take in with the benefit concert, Owen simply said as much as they can.

Owen said he also invited the band Lynyrd Skynyrd to join them. They couldn't make it, but he says they also made a large donation to the university.

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