Nel Reid had a song already picked out. She had sent in the music the band was supposed to play.
"But on my way here, I just kept hearing 'Pray for Chattanooga,'" she told the audience, explaining why she changed her mind and there was no band behind her. "So this is just me and God."
Without backup singers, without the band and without any colorful light effects, she sang the Lord's Prayer. After she was done, much of the audience at the fundraising event gave her a standing ovation.
Concertgoer Jeannie McElveen said it was one of her favorite acts during the performance.
"I go to her church," she said of Reid. "She always gives me chilled bones and she did it again tonight."
Reid was one of several musicians and bands to play at the concert Saturday evening. All proceeds went to the 7-16 fund for the families of the victims who died in the shooting July 16: Four Marines and one Navy sailor who died when a gunman opened fire at the recruiting center on Lee Highway and the Navy and Marine Reserve Center on Amnicola.
Throughout the night, the audience was asked to text the number 444999 and donate. As well as musical acts, some Tennessee politicians spoke to the audience, which filled about a third of the ICCM Theater on Lee Highway.
"In my time in the United States House of Representatives, I could not be more proud of the people in this city," U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann said. "I've told my brothers and sisters I serve with on both sides of the aisle that we have a special place here in Chattanooga."
Fleischmann also said, to big applause, that he will fight in Congress so the men who died will "get the Purple Heart that they rightfully deserve."
As the one-month anniversary of the shooting approaches, other events are planned. A permanent memorial will open Aug. 16 outside the military recruiting center on Lee Highway, and the public is invited to attend an opening ceremony at 4 p.m. that day.
Karen and Jim Hunziker, from LaFayette, Ga., got there early and were sitting in the front row. Karen Hunziker explained that when she heard about the concert, she immediately called her husband.
"We have to go," she remembers saying.
When the events of July 16 took place, Karen Hunziker was at Wal-Mart when her friend called and told her there was a shooting near Lee Highway.
"I went right home and starting watching on our TV. I just couldn't get over it. I just cried," she said, starting to well up at the memory.
Hunziker was struck that evil could come into her community, but she has faith in Chattanooga to do what's right for the victims' families. That's part of the reason why she and her husband, who is a Vietnam War veteran, came to the concert.
"We're going take care of them," she said.
Chattanooga police Sgt. Dennis Pedigo, who was shot in the ankle during the attack, also was in the front row along with his family.
The concert emcee, Sam Terry of WNNOO, turned to Pedigo at one point in between acts, and asked the audience to acknowledge him with a round of applause.
"Thank you," he said. "I just want to say thank you."
Pedigo, who came in with crutches and a large cast on his left leg, nodded in appreciation. The audience clapped. But Terry wasn't done. His stare lingered.
"Thank you so much," he said again with more emotion, looking right at Pedigo.
The audience's applause got louder. Then everybody stood up. They were all cheering for Pedigo.
Contact staff writer Evan Hoopfer at email@example.com or twitter.com/EvanHoopfer or 423-757-6731.