“While the City Slept” and Why It’s Important – Part Two

“While the City Slept” and Why It’s Important – Part Two

A three-part reflection by Rachel Ebeling, co-founder of Angel Band Project Part Two   The snow is falling peacefully and the hum of the furnace keeps me warm in my office.  Sitting in this front room, surrounded by windows that let the light of day shine through so that everything around me has stunning clarity, is one of the main reasons why I chose this space for Angel Band Project.   In the next room, Tim Butz is being interviewed by a local reporter for a St. Louis news station.  He is one of Teresa’s 8 brothers.  Tim is a year and a half older than Teresa.  He was the sibling I probably knew the best, because he and Teresa were really tight.   Jean had spent the weekend before the attacks with Teresa in Chicago.  Teresa and Jen stayed with her and they had a fantastic time.  By chance, Tim happened to be in Chicago as well and got to see Teresa at a Cubs game that weekend too.  It was that next Sunday that I had to call Jean and tell her, over the phone, that Teresa was murdered. I wish I could forget that phone call. She still had leftovers in her fridge from carryout they ordered.  It was unreal to her, that this happened.   When Teresa and Jen were attacked, we were shaken to the core and tried in vain to figure out, quite simply, how to go on. Teresa’s immediate exit out of this world left a void in our hearts.  The weeks after the attacks were rather chaotic.  One minute I was...
“While the City Slept” and Why It’s Important: Part One

“While the City Slept” and Why It’s Important: Part One

A three-part reflection by Rachel Ebeling, co-founder of Angel Band Project Yesterday, February 2, 2016, a new book was released by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Eli Sanders.  “While the City Slept” traces the lives of the three people whose lives tragically intersected on July 19, 2009.  Jennifer Hopper, Teresa Butz, and Isaiah Kalebu.  This is not a new story for us, by any means, because I had the pleasure of growing up with feisty Teresa in south St. Louis in the 1970s.  We met on the first day of kindergarten at St. Stephen’s Protomartyr Catholic School.  Wearing freshly pressed red plaid jumpers and wearing little ties around our necks that snapped under our white collars, three 6 year olds were introduced into kindergarten by Mrs. Lang.  Teresa Butz, Jean Haegele, and Rachel Rankin.  Little did we know on that first day where our friendship would take us. Teresa was number 9 in a family of 11 children.  In the 70’s, we experienced freedoms that are certainly not a part of childhood in the new millennium.  We walked to school, walked home for lunch, hung out at the quick shop after school without any care that we needed to be home to show our parents we were still alive, wandered the neighborhood like banshees.  We walked to the movie theater on Friday nights, snuck into R movies, hocked cigarettes from older siblings, and held dance parties late at night when Teresa’s parents were out of town.  Not that we were bad kids.  We were normal kids full of curiosity about our world, our boundaries, ourselves. Jean, Teresa and I channeled our tendencies for...
Chute to Heal August 22 in Maine

Chute to Heal August 22 in Maine

Written by Rachel Ebeling, co-founder and executive director On August 22, a team of brave skydivers will jump for Angel Band Project, led by New York Junior Board Member Natasha Repass. Natasha has her own harrowing story of survival.  Seven years ago, on August 22, 2008, she was sexually assaulted by a transient while walking home from work.  She was beaten, dragged into the woods, and raped at knife point. “I went through two long re-victimizing trials before my rapist was found guilty and finally put away,” explains Natasha.  “No longer walking the same streets as I did. I finally decided I was going to start “living” again, that I was going to take my day back.  I was not going to let him take anything from me again.” Her strength and bravery are inspiring to all who know her.  I remember the day that I received that first email from Natasha.  She shared her story, and told me she wanted to help other survivors in their efforts to heal.  She had heard about Angel Band Project from someone who had attended a conference that I spoke at in New Hampshire in 2013. Last year, she and her fellow jumpers spent two days at the Sky Dive New England campground, holding out for bad weather to clear so they could jump.  And they did it after waiting out the storm.  This year, even more people are joining her efforts. “This is a day where new beginnings happen, spirits are lifted, minds are eased, friends are made and hope is shared. A day people come together as one voice in the...
Gearing up for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Gearing up for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

All of us at Angel Band Project would like to send our sincerest thank you to everyone who donated and supported Virtual Choir 2015 through power2give.org. We were able to reach our goal and raise $10,000 and we couldn’t have done it without you. We did it! It feels good to be a part of the band today and every day. So again, thank you to everyone who helped accomplish this amazing goal.   As we celebrate our success with power2give, we also have no time to relax. We have so many exciting events in the upcoming months that we can’t wait for you to hear about. We are launching a new campaign throughout the month of April to highlight Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Our goal is to get musicians to wear Angel Band Project apparel when they perform and mention that they are “in the band.” We hope to reach new audiences and get as many people to join the band as possible. If you or if someone you know is a musician who would like to be involved, please contact Melanie Canning at melaniercanning@gmail.com or call Angel Band Project directly at 314-240-5525.   To kickoff the “I’m With The Band” campaign, we are hosting a celebration at Create Space in the Delmar Loop on Friday, March 27th from 6-10 PM. This event is open to the public and welcome to all ages. Admission is free but we will be accepting donations throughout the evening. We will feature live music, a raffle, face painting, and more. It will be a night filled with fun and all for a...
New Year’s News

New Year’s News

The holiday season has certainly flown by, and with that comes the beginnings of a new year. All of us at The Angel Band Project are looking forward to what lies ahead in 2015. Looking back at the past 12 months, we couldn’t be more grateful for our supporters who are keeping our mission alive. We wouldn’t be able to exist without you, so thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We couldn’t let 2014 go, however, without discussing something that we hope to continue for many years to come: One Voice Virtual Choir. If you were not able to attend this event in St. Louis in November, let us first start by explaining what a virtual choir is. Through the magic of technology we have been able to reach out to victims and advocates of sexual and domestic violence all across the nation. Each participant was paired with a music therapist and taught the song “One Voice,” a Wailin’ Jennie’s original. We provided a safe and comfortable environment for them to record their song and then compiled each recording, creating a “virtual” choir. This virtual choir was also accompanied by a live choir, which brought each and every survivor and advocate together, no matter where they were from. It would be impossible to accurately describe the impact this night had on all of us. The strength, power and courage brought to the choir were inspirational to say the least. Watching these survivors come together to support one another was truly a sight to see. Our hope is to further grow this program and have participants from every...