Country and faith-based music team up for tornado relief

TR Photos by Mike Donahey Iowa native Casey Muessigmann headlined the Tornado Relief Concert Sunday night at the Midnight Ballroom. Muessigmann played a number of songs from his most recent CD “Between the Rows.”

Marshalltown’s tornado victims are not forgotten.

Almost eight months after the EF-3 tornado rammed its vicious swirling winds through town, those who care about their neighbors put on a concert with proceeds applied to tornado relief.

From the raucous country-rock “Turn It Up” by Casey Muessigmann to inspiring “Marshalltown Strong” by Project 641, to the harmony of Restoration, all got an earful at Sunday night’s Tornado Relief Benefit Concert at the Midnight Ballroom.

Rev. Jennifer Daniel gladly did double duty — she helped organize the event and is a member or Restoration, who played the middle set.

Jon Rottink, Youth and Families pastor at the local Presbyterian, and his band Project 641 kicked off the event with five lively songs.

Rev. Jennifer Daniel, far right, a member of the group Restoration, played the middle set. Daniel also organized the concert with all proceeds to aid tornado victims.

Rottink earned some initial laughs from the crowd when he told about about writing a song based on his experience in prison – actually as a tourist to the famed Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in San Francisco, Calif.

However, Rottink did share impressions of meeting a former inmate on the island during a book signing – who shared personal reflections when he did hard time at “The Rock.” The inmate had the only cell where one could see the sunrise and hear sounds coming from San Francisco.

Project 641 and Restoration did their jobs and Muessigmann did not disappoint, opening his set with songs from his recent CD “Between the Rows.”

Daniel heard Muessigmann sing at wedding and asked him to play in Marshalltown to help tornado victims. Muessigmann easily said yes.

“I am a native Iowan, so I know what severe weather can do,” he said before starting his set.

Rev. Jon Rottink of Marshalltown opened the show and debuted “Marshalltown Strong” for the crowd.

Muessigmann is a Boone native who has also lived in Spencer. He also knows about the extensive devastation in Parkersburg a number of years ago, where an EF-5 tornado crushed the town.

“When I attended Morningside College my roommate was from Parkersburg, so I heard about the devastation and its impact on residents,” Muessigmann said before the concert. “I am glad to be here and help out.”

Muessigmann and his band are on tour now, and he said Sunday’s performance was ideal for him and band. They waived their $3,000 fee to help Marshalltown tornado victims.

Some have called the down-to-earth and affable Muessigmann a country star in the making. He was one of several acts featured on the popular “The Voice” network television program season three. He was on “Team Blake,” with country star Blake Shelton.

Muessigmann was joined by others in donating to the cause – Midnight Ballroom owner Luisa Ortega discounted her usual rental fee to help, while the local Nourish business set up a popular “Oxygen Bar,” with proceeds toward relief.

To make a donation to the Tornado Relief Fund, contact Daniel at 641-485-8996.

For more information on Muessigmann, visit


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or

Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct the spelling of Jon Rottink’s name.