CACHE COUNTY – County officials here are supporting a local effort to boost community awareness of the issue of suicide in northern Utah.
With financial backing from the Cache County Council, the “Ignite the Light” suicide awareness concert starring Alex Boyé will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30 at the Cache County Fairgrounds.
That event is the brainchild of Margaret Gittins, a local business owner and part-time employee of the Cache County Fairgrounds.
While addressing members of the Cache County Council on Sept. 14, Gittins reminded them that September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. With that in mind, she had set out earlier this month to investigate the possibility of organizing a suicide awareness event here in Cache County after learning via social media of a similarly themed concert starring Boyé in Herriman, UT.
“On a whim, I sent Alex Boyé a message asking how we could make something similar happen in Logan,” Gittins explained. “He responded almost immediately and gave me his manager’s contact information.
“Since then, we’ve been in contact multiple times every day. After that, I went to my own social media and expressed that I felt this was needed for multiple reasons.”
Those “reasons” include the fact that an average of more than 600 Utahns die by suicide every year, about one every 13 hours.
Terryl Warner, the director of the Cache County Victims Services Office, shares Gittins’ sentiments.
“I believe that in 2019, we did 10 death notifications for suicides,” she explained. “In 2020, that number rose to 12. So far this year, the number (of local suicides) is in the mid-30’s.”
Gittins added that that price tag of the “Ignite the Light” concert is estimated at $40,000, with $25,000 going to Boyé and his band and the remaining $15,000 required for sound, lights and other production expenses.
She explained that unsolicited donations for the event are pouring in, including $5,000 from Gossner Foods.
“We’re confident that we can raise all the money for this event,” explained Cache County Executive David Zook. “But we need to move forward now with the planning … Margaret’s intent here today is just to get a pledge that (the County Council) will have her back if that funding doesn’t come through.”
At the urging of council member Gordon Zilles, his colleagues on the panel pledged to cover the concert’s expenses up to $25,000 from the county’s restaurant tax account if a shortfall occurs in needed donations or sponsorships.
Alex Boyé is a British-American singer, dancer, actor and musician who has resided in Utah for two decades. He is a former member of the European boy-band “Awesome” and of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Boyé’s professional career has included recording religious and Latter-day Saint music. In recent years, he has also built a massive YouTube following by performing Africanized versions of popular music, including “Let It Go” and “Circle of Life” from the Disney movies “Frozen” and “The Lion King” respectively as well as the Taylor Swift hit “Shake It Off.”
Gittins emphasizes that the “Ignite the Light” suicide awareness concert will be presented free to the public.
Food and snacks will be provided by local vendor trucks.
Gittins also urges attendees to bring blankets and folding chairs to the concert.