Nearly $10,000 raised to ‘loosen chains’

They rocked, they rolled, they raised money.

They rocked, they rolled, they raised money.

Students and some family members from Pine Lake Middle School, Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus and Issaquah High School sold $9,500 worth of tickets to the “Loose Change to Loosen Chains” concert last Friday night. The money goes to the International Justice Mission, which works to free people from bondage. According to IJM, 27 million people are currently held as slaves, more than any other time in history.

“I wanted to have a good time and help all the slaves,” Pine Lake sixth-grader Emma Wrightson said about why she choose to attend the event.

Doors opened at 7 p.m. and the prep work for the concert went great, organizer Eric Ensey said. Ensey, a sixth-grade language arts and social studies teacher at Pine Lake, started the fundraiser last year. That event was limited to Pine Lake, but the school raised $16,000. This year the fundraiser was expanded to include the two additional schools.

“This year we thought we’d go bigger, better,” Ensey said.

The sold-out concert featured the band Barcelona, which recently finished a nationwide tour but hasn’t played at a high school before.

“It feels a bit like High School Musical. I feel like Zac Efron,” lead singer Brian Fennell said.

Fennell and Ensey know each through their church.

“He came to me and said, ‘There is probably no way you guys would play,’” Fennell said.

But the band members thought it was a great cause and signed up.

Opening for Barcelona were an array of high school and middle school bands.

Dozens of parents and staff monitored the event, as did the Issaquah Police Department. About 950 kids showed up for the concert, about 60 percent of whom were from Pine Lake. The remaining percentage was split evenly between the high school and freshman campus.

Mills music provided all the sound equipment and staff to run the equipment free of charge, something that would have normally cost about $2,000, Ensey said.

Loose Change to Loosen Chains will continue collecting money throughout the remainder of the month. To donate, drop off the money at the bookkeeper, located at the front desk, at any one of the schools.