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Joe Walsh, David Crosby to headline benefit concert marking 50th anniversary of Kent State shootings

Rock Hall inductees Joe Walsh, left, and David

Rock Hall inductees Joe Walsh, left, and David Crosby appear in a composite image. Credit: Composite: Getty Images / Ethan Miller, left; Getty Images / Scott Dudelson

Legendary rockers Joe Walsh and David Crosby will perform at Kent State University on Saturday, May 2, at a benefit concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of the killing of four students  at that school by the Ohio National Guard.

The university announced Wednesday that Crosby, 78, who was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with both the Byrds and Crosby, Stills and Nash, would open for Kent State alumnus Walsh, 72, a Hall of Fame inductee with the Eagles. The show reunites Walsh with drummer Joe Vitale and bassist Kenny Passarelli of his pre-Eagles trio Barnstorm. Vitale also attended Kent State and was a student at the time of the killings.

They will be joined by other acts to be announced. Proceeds from the concert, to be held at the university's Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center, will help support the newly created May 4 Legacy Scholarships to students majoring in the college's Peace and Conflict Studies program.

On May 4, 1970, members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on students protesting the Vietnam War. Four students were killed: Allison Krause and Plainview's Jeffrey Miller, who had participated in the protest; and Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder, who had been walking from one class to the next. Nine students were injured.

 The incident became a flashpoint that galvanized anti-war sentiment across colleges and influenced national politics. The hit song "Ohio" by Crosby's subsequent group, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, helped raise international awareness of the event.

"We wanted to make sure the artists we brought in for the concert had a strong understanding of the history of May 4, 1970, and a commitment to helping raise funds for the scholarships," said Rod Flauhaus, project manager for the commemoration. "Artists like Joe Walsh and David Crosby provided the soundtrack for both those that went to fight in the Vietnam War and for those who were against it. Their music was the common thread that helped to raise national awareness, inspire activism and helped us to heal as a nation."

Walsh is currently touring with the Eagles, who just wrapped a three-night set at Madison Square Garden. Crosby, also touring, is scheduled to perform June 21 at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of students who were killed while they were protesting.

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