Kauai resident honors victims of Pulse shooting

KILAUEA — Anne Welsh wants the survivors and victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting to be happy.

“Some may never go to a dance club again, and I would never want that to happen because when you dance, you’re free,” she said.

On June 12, 2016, shots rang out at the popular gay club in Orlando while it was hosting a Latin Night.

The suspect, Omar Mateen, was shot and killed by Orlando Police Department officers after a three- hour standoff. At the end of the night, 49 people were killed and 58 wounded. It is the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter.

“The shocking horror. How could we feel safe, laugh and dance again?” Welsh said. “It could happen anywhere. It was an event full of hate and meant to incur fear.”

The Kalihiwai resident started writing dance songs after the attack. “Blues in My Shoes” was one of them.

“After I wrote it, I read it and asked ‘why did you put ‘nothing’s going to stop me,’ and ‘I’ve got blues in my shoes,’” she said. “Blues can be a blues boogie in my shoes. But it could also mean I’ve got sadness in my shoes. I kept reading more into it, and the more I sang it to myself, I realized it’s for the victims and survivors of Pulse.”

It took her about a week to finish writing, and another six months to produce.

“The song takes a stand against hate,” Welsh said. “We must go on dancing. Nothing must stop us from love, joy, dance and freedom. As hard as it is, never give up. Keep on keepin’ on with love. Just keep dancing.”

Jeremy Hartshorn, owner of Bandwagon Studios, produced the song.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to help Williams and Welsh get their heart-felt idea from the page to a finished project,” Hartshorn said. “I know this song means a lot to them.”

The song includes the vocals of her daughter, Laurie Williams. Together, the duo make up the band Williams & Welsh, and released their first album, “Blues Gonna Getcha,” last year.

Welsh is also a former ballroom and swing dancer, and has been dancing for 35 years.

“Anything creative, even for a moment, can get you out of sadness,” she said.

Welsh donated the song to the people of Orlando and the One Orlando Alliance, a coalition that works to unify LGBTQ organizations in Central Florida.

“This is their song, not mine anymore,” she said.

To listen to the song, go to www.williamsandwelsh.com.

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