Collective Soul’s Will Turpin Hosts Benefit For Aquatic Center In Honor Of Five Year Old Niece’s Accidental Overdose

By Eileen Tilson / @tktalt_tn

When Atlanta rocker Will Turpin takes to the stage next week to headline a benefit concert, he’ll be playing for someone who can’t be there – his recently deceased niece, Kensley Grace Kirby.

The veteran bassist for Collective Soul will top the bill of The KG Music Fest on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, at Southside Steve’s, 715 Industrial Blvd., McDonough. The 2 p.m. show also features Collective Soul guitarist Joel Kosche, Abel, Rawls & Hayes, Reluctant Saints and Eleven Standing Still.

Turpin will be using his celebrity status to help to raise funds for the Kensley Grace Aquatic Center. The proposed swimming facility is named after his 5-year-old niece, who died June 8 after she was taken to a McDonough family medical clinic to get treated for a broken arm. She died after a lethal dose of local anesthesia was given to her at the clinic, an Atlanta coroner confirmed.

“Kensley’s death was a big blow to our entire family and it has changed all of our lives. She loved swimming and we’re going to use the money we raise to build a nice aquatic facility in Henry County,” Turpin said. “The sadness that Kensley’s tragic death has exposed will never be repaired but we are trying to put energy towards something that is positive to balance out all of the negative.”

Turpin said Kensley enjoyed both soccer and swimming and had expressed an interest in joining the S.M.A.R.T. (Smart Motivated Athletic Respectful and Teammate) swim team. Her eight-year-old sister, Avonlea, is also a member of the team.

A Facebook group called Kensley Grace Aquatic Center has been created and a fund-raising team has been established. Tax-deductible donations may be made to the Kensley Grace Memorial Fund at Ameris Bank, located at 135 North Park Place, Suite 250, Stockbridge.

Turpin said competitive swimmers in Henry County currently don’t have a proper sized pool to train and must travel to neighboring counties to compete. He hopes to rectify that situation by raising money through Saturday’s benefit.

“A local land owner has approached us about donating land for the aquatic center,” Turpin said. “We’ve turned a major corner and the rest is up to us to come through for these kids.”

Fans will be treated to a rare solo appearance by Turpin, who will be playing songs from his new EP, The Lighthouse (Gooey Music, 2011) and a few from Collective Soul. He added that the other musicians on the bill would be joining him for an all-star jam at the end of the evening.

For more information on the Kensley Grace Aquatic Center, visit


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